While Panthers coach Ron Rivera seems to think quarterback Cam Newton will play against Jacksonville, he was less certain about Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil.
Rivera said the Panthers will continue to evaluate Kalil, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last year. When he reported to training camp last month, Kalil said his preseason reps would be limited but he was confident he’d be ready by Week 1.
“Ryan’s been progressing very nicely, working his way through it,” Rivera said. “He’s having a really good camp. It’s just we’ve had to be really smart with that and keep an eye on it.”
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Rivera gave a number of veterans the day off Tuesday, including tight end Greg Olsen, running back Jonathan Stewart, linebacker Thomas Davis and both Kalil brothers -- Ryan and Matt, the starting left tackle.
Ryan Kalil didn’t play in either of the first two preseason games, although he participated in the first of the two joint practices with the Titans last week. Rivera indicated the team would continue to exercise caution with the 11-year veteran.
“What you don’t want to do is put a guy out there who’s fatigued at his position,” Rivera said. “It’s a little different obviously being a center as opposed to being the quarterback because every play you’re taking shots.
“We want to make sure he’s ready to go when we do expose him.”
Tyler Larsen continues to take the first-team reps at center, with Gino Gradkowski behind him.