With a rushing game that has struggled the past four weeks and a quarterback who has been sacked 11 times during that span, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera decided its time for a change on the offensive line.
Fourth-year lineman Garry Williams will start at right guard for the Panthers on Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Its the first time in four weeks that Jeff Byers will not get the nod at the position.
In the past few weeks, Williams has been the primary backup when a lineman be it rookie left guard Amini Silatolu or right tackle Byron Bell cant perform his duties. He replaced Byers early in the Tampa Bay game and took 59 of the 67 offensive reps.
Recently acquired lineman Jeremy Bridges will be Williams immediate backup, and Rivera promised that Bridges will get reps Monday night after being inactive last week because of a lack of conditioning.
Hes moving around pretty well. You can see his football condition is coming back, said Rivera of Bridges, who signed with the Panthers more than a week ago. That was one of the concerns we had last week because the more tired he got the more upright he got. Now you dont see him standing up so quickly. Hes going deeper and deeper into practice. But his conditioning still is a little bit of a question mark.
VICK OUT: Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick will miss his second straight game with concussion symptoms.
Vick suffered a concussion midway through the Eagles loss to the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago and has not practiced since. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles struggled in his first start last week and will start his second game Monday against the Panthers.
All week long the Panthers have had to prepare for two quarterbacks a mobile, left-handed quarterback and a right-handed pro-style quarterback.
With a different quarterback comes a different set of operating rules. We may see more 3- and 5-step (dropbacks) as opposed to 7-steps, Rivera said. What we want to do, and you have to study it very closely, is what do they do with him at quarterback as opposed to Michael Vick? So we looked at last weeks game, we looked at two-thirds of the Dallas game when he came in. So we have an idea of what we anticipate with them.
Also out for the Eagles with a concussion is running back LeSean McCoy. He has 750 rushing yards on 177 carries this season to go along with 235 receiving yards and five combined touchdowns.
HARDY SICK: Defensive end Greg Hardy sat out of practice Saturday for a second straight day while he deals with a bout of bronchitis.
Rivera said Hardys bronchitis is compounded with asthma, and the doctor saw him early Saturday and sent him home after, telling Hardy to rest rather than be on the practice field.
Rivera added the doctor said Hardy should feel much better by Sunday morning and should be ready to go for Mondays game.
INJURY REPORT: Antwan Applewhite will miss his fifth consecutive game with a hamstring injury, and Rivera said the team will evaluate the defensive end next week to see where they go with him.
Along with Hardy, a host of Panthers are listed as probable for Monday nights game. Thomas Davis, Dwan Edwards, Ron Edwards and Jordan Gross fully participated in Saturdays practice after being held out earlier in the week for rest.
Center Geoff Hangartner (knee), safety Colin Jones (head), linebacker Jordan Senn (ankle) and wide receiver Steve Smith (finger) all practiced Saturday.
Linebacker James Anderson did not participate Saturday with a sore back and Rivera and head train Ryan Vermillion decided to give Anderson the day off.