Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC South [Print without images]

Sunday, September 28, 2008
Rapid reaction: Panthers 24, Falcons 9

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Panthers won a game, but -- at least for the moment -- lost a couple of offensive linemen.

Left tackle Jordan Gross and rookie right tackle Jeff Otah, two key members of a young and steadily improving line, were injured against the Falcons. Otah told reporters after the game he suffered a sprained ankle and could have returned late in the game, if necessary.

The Panthers hope that's the case, but let's give the training staff a day or two to confirm Otah's diagnosis. Gross suffered a concussion on the first offensive series of the game and didn't return.

It remains to be seen if either player will miss any future games, but the thought of having your two starting tackles out has to be scary for any team. The Panthers were trying to build their line around two book-end tackles and the loss of one or both for any period of time could be devastating.

Jeremy Bridges and Frank Omiyale are the only other tackles on the roster. Left guard Travelle Wharton slid outside after Gross was injured and the Panthers likely would stick with that formula if Gross has to miss any more time. Omiyale is viewed as a project and isn't ready to start. Bridges has been a starter at various points in his career and is an adequate run blocker at right tackle, but is not known as a strong pass blocker.