The Carolina Panthers have maintained a top-flight rushing attack (they’re ranked 4th in the NFL) this season despite having to piecemeal together their offensive line due to injuries.
But last Sunday against New England, the Panthers line was dealt another blow when starting RT Jeff Otah was lost for the season to a knee injury. Carolina placed Otah on injured reserve this week and replaced his roster spot with NFL journeyman Rob Pettiti, who started at RT for Dallas in 2005 but saw his most recent action in the United Football League this October and November.
Otah isn’t the first starting OT to go on injured reserve this season for Carolina. Starting LT Jordan Gross is also on IR. To replace Gross, Carolina shifted starting LG Travelle Wharton over to LT and now has 2nd-year player Mackenzy Bernadeau playing at LG.
You can see why I used the word piecemeal to describe the Panthers offensive line.
But give Carolina credit. They’re still rushing for 149.9 yards per game, displaying grittiness in their attitude and a commitment to running the football, something the Vikings have surely noticed on film and certainly respect.
At the same time, Vikings DEs Jared Allen and Ray Edwards have an opportunity this week to go to work and help add to the Vikings league-leading sack total of 41. If the Vikings jump out to an early lead as they did last week against Cincinnati, the Panthers may be forced into more of a throw game and will be without their bookend OTs to protect the QB from Allen and Edwards.
Tags: Jared Allen
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 6 Comments »