It appears likely the Carolina Panthers will be without three starters – cornerback Chris Gamble (shoulder), linebacker Jon Beason (knee) and offensive guard Geoff Hangartner (knee) – when they host Seattle Sunday at 4:05 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium.
All three missed practice again Thursday and head coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers (1-3) are considering their personnel options as it begins finalizing preparations to meet the Seahawks (2-2).
If Gamble doesn’t play, Rivera said veteran Captain Munnerlyn will move into the starting cornerback spot in the Panthers’ base defensive package. Munnerlyn will move to nickel back when they add an extra defensive back, slotting rookie Josh Norman in the cornerback spot.
Beason wouldn’t rule himself out of Sunday’s game, though he seems unlikely to play.
“I don’t feel bad. Just trying to take it day to day,” said Beason, who has been banged up through most of the season.
Asked specifically about his availability for Sunday, Beason said, “It’s a long time away.”
Rivera said rookie weak side linebacker Luke Kuechly may move into Beason’s linebacker spot, or they may use Jason Phillips there instead. Kuechly has taken some snaps at middle linebacker in practice this week. Rivera said it’s tempting to put Kuechly in the middle.
“You look at what could potentially happen and you say to yourself is the best thing to keep him static and just move one guy or is it to move guys around? We have to look at that and see how it impacts what we want to do,” Rivera said.