- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Offensive lines usually don’t get the credit they deserve.
But we’ve got an opportunity to, at least temporarily, change that, so let’s put the spotlight on Carolina’s offensive line. The Panthers are this week’s winners of the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award. Named after Hall of Fame coach John Madden, the award is intended to recognize an offensive line that gives its quarterback strong protection and contributes to the team’s overall success.
Carolina’s offensive line did that in Sunday’s 35-27 victory over New Orleans. The Panthers had 219 yards rushing and quarterback Cam Newton was sacked just once and hit only twice.
“When you can beat a team like New Orleans, with a balanced offense of run and pass, you know you have a good offensive line,’’ Madden said.
Carolina’s offensive line consists of tackles Jordan Gross and Byron Bell, guards Amini Silatolu and Geoff Hangartner and center Ryan Kalil. But the Panthers could face a challenge Thursday night when they host the New York Giants. Bell is dealing with an ankle injury and might not be able to play. If he can’t, the Panthers will have to turn to either Bruce Campbell or Garry Williams.