Just when Panthers’ fans thought things couldn't get any worse, center Ryan Kalil—the same player that put out a full page ad guaranteeing a Super Bowl—will now miss the rest of the year with a foot injury.
Kalil, a 3-time Pro Bowler, was initially thought to have suffered a slight sprain against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Upon further examination, trainers have determined Kalil will need surgery.
This is a big blow for the Panthers, who now have to go the rest of the season without their best offensive lineman after already struggling through the first five games of the 2012 campaign.
“It’s unfortunate,” said head coach Ron Rivera.
Talk about an understatement!
The offensive line troubles of the Panthers started against the Buccaneers in Week 1—and have not gotten much better throughout the season.
An offense that finished seventh in the NFL in total offense a year ago has stumbled its way to a 1-4 record and a mediocre No. 22 ranking in the same category.
Cam Newton’s stellar rookie campaign seems more and more like a thing of the past with every mistake he makes.
It’s clear that Newton has not felt comfortable in the pocket and that has led to a poor completion percentage (59%), turnovers (7) and a general lack of offensive production.
Will the Panthers improve on last year's 6-10 record?
One can’t help but think that the loss of the stalwart playing in front of him is going to have negative implications for Newton and the rest of the offense.
What’s worse, the team does not have a reliable backup to start in place of Kalil.
Backup Center/Guard Jeff Byers and Geoff Hangartner will split reps next week in preparation for the Dallas Cowboys, but don’t be surprised if the team goes out and signs another lineman to supplement the loss of Kalil.
The good news for Panthers’ fans is that Kalil is expected to make a full recovery before the 2013 season and they have a Bye this week.
Looking for more optimism? Last season the team lost starting right tackle Jeff Otah for the year and found themselves a more capable starter in Byron Bell, who still holds that position today.
That being said, it seems that Carolina’s offensive line woes will continue to get worse before they get better.