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Sunday, September 28, 2008
Injury to Gross shakes up Carolina's O-line

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Gross

Carolina's offensive line lost its anchor for at least the rest of today's game. Left tackle Jordan Gross went out with a head injury after the first series and the Panthers said he won't return.

That's a huge blow because Gross is Carolina's best offensive linemen and the Panthers are shuffling players to replace him. Left guard Travelle Wharton, in his first game back from injury, has shifted over to left tackle and Geoff Hangartner has entered at left guard.

That combination is good enough to get the Panthers through a game, but if Gross is out for any extended period this will be a big problem. Wharton was the starting left tackle last season, but the Panthers moved him inside where they believe he's a much better fit. There's also a drop off at left guard if Wharton's not there.

But the Panthers don't have a lot of other options. The backup tackles on the roster are Jeremy Bridges and Frank Omiyale. Bridges is much better suited to play right tackle or one of the guard spots than left tackle and Omiyale is viewed as nothing more than a backup.