Tuesday, August 12, 2014
LT Byron Bell, rest of Panthers' O-line set
By David Newton
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The offensive line for the Carolina Panthers appears set.
A big question entering training camp, the revamped line looks like this as Carolina ended its stay on Tuesday at Wofford College: Byron Bell, left tackle; Amini Silatolu, left guard; Ryan Kalil, center; Trai Turner, right guard; Nate Chandler, right tackle.
The only real question entering camp was whether Bell or Chandler would replace the retired Jordan Gross as the left tackle. They flip-flopped between right and left for the first week and a half.
But Bell took most of the reps at left last week and started there in the preseason opener against Buffalo. He took all of the snaps there -- except when he was spelled for what was described as patella tendinitis on Monday -- the past couple of days.
"You can see we're pretty close to settling on a group," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "Now it's a matter of them learning to play with each other, get comfortable, trust each other."
As complementary as coaches were of Bell after his performance against Buffalo, he still appears shaky on the bull rush. He was pushed back into the quarterback against the Bills a couple of times, and Carolina Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy did the same Tuesday during one-on-one pass rush drills.
"We have some work to do," Kalil said "There is going to be some growing pains with this group [compared] with some of the older groups we had. But we have some really tremendous talent that I think will set us up for years to come.
"I have been happy with all of the guys, Byron at left tackle, Trai coming in, first timer. He's been doing a really good job."
A lot more will be learned in Sunday night's preseason game against Kansas City in which the starters will play into the third quarter because of a short turnaround before the third preseason game.
But for now, the line appears set with Bell as the left tackle.
"As we go forward, yes," Coach Ron Rivera said. "This is a big week. This will be a big test for Byron, it'll be a big test for Nate, and we'll get a good feel for it."