Panther's Injuries and the Chiefs
As expected, Crolina Panthers starting tackles Jordan Gross (concussion) and Jeff Otah (ankle) missed practice Wednesday. Coach John Fox offered no update on their status except to say they’re both “day-to-day” and that neither has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Kansas City here at Bank of America Stadium.
Gross, who has started 84 straight games, has to be viewed as a long shot to play this week given that he was knocked unconscious Sunday. He did watch practice Wednesday, which was a good sign.
Cornerback Ken Lucas and safety Quinton Teal rested ankle injuries on Wednesday, but neither is believed to be serious. Quarterback Matt Moore (knee) did not practice either, but Delhomme (quad) did.
If Otah doesn’t play, then Bridges will start at right tackle. However, if Gross doesn’t play the Panthers have two options: move Travelle Wharton to left tackle and start Geoff Hangartner at left guard or simply start Frank Omiyale at left tackle and leave Wharton at left guard. Although Omiyale has been in the league for four seasons, he’s played in only one game and has never started, so that would be a risky move for the Panthers.
Delhomme was named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 294 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina’s 24-9 win over Atlanta. Not surprisingly, Delhomme quickly deferred the praise to his teammates.
The addition of kicker Rhys Lloyd has already paid dividends for the Panthers in terms of field position. He has an NFL-high nine touchbacks and the Panthers are third in the league in opponent’s drive start average (22.1-yard line).
Kansas City had lost 12 straight games entering last weekend’s showdown with Denver, a team few expected them to beat. Johnson called a team meeting last week to get the players on the same page and it seemed to work.
The Chiefs rank in 30th passing offense. They’ve started three different quarterbacks in four games. The Chiefs will start two rookie cornerbacks against the Panthers -- Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers, which is obviously good news for Carolina’s veteran receivers Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad. Both had big plays last week against the Broncos. Carr intercepted Jay Cutler in the third quarter, and Flowers recovered a fumble and returned it to the Broncos’ 1-yard line to set up a Larry Johnson touchdown run.
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