Carolina Panthers center Tyler Larsen found out he was starting last week after pregame warmups.
This week Larsen has had more notice that he again could be filling in for Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil.
Kalil missed last week’s victory over Buffalo after waking up with a “crick in his neck.” Kalil, who has had previous issues with stingers, has yet to practice this week.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera declined to say whether Kalil’s injury is more involved than what has been reported.
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Larsen started five games last season after season-ending injuries to Kalil and Gino Gradkowski. The second-year player from Utah State thought he played well last week against the Bills, given the circumstances.
“If I have that chance (again), absolutely I’ll be ready,” Larsen said Thursday.
Kalil’s experience has helped him identify the defensive fronts and relay the line calls to his teammates, including quarterback Cam Newton. Larsen said communication will be key this week against a Saints defensive line that likes to do a lot of stunting.
“I’m really kind of a sit-back-and-observe (guy). But when it’s time for me to, absolutely I will be (vocal),” Larsen said. “It’s a little out of character once we’re on the field and I’m talking a lot and making the calls.”