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Bell out for Saints game; Foucault to start at LT

This time last year, David Foucault was playing football at the Université de Montréal

Thursday night, he’ll protect Cam Newton’s blind side against the Saints.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced Wednesday afternoon the undrafted rookie will start at left tackle against New Orleans in place of injured starter Byron Bell.

“I'm excited. He's played well. He's had opportunities,” Rivera said. “It'll be interesting to see. As I said the other day, going into the season with the guys we had, we liked him but we didn't know we were going to have to play him as soon as we have. I thought he responded pretty well when he got his opportunity against Green Bay. ... And then having to play both left and right this past Sunday, I thought he did a nice job handling it.”

Foucault played left and right tackle last week against Seattle as both Bell and Nate Chandler battled injuries. Bell’s left elbow injury didn’t allow him the proper punch he needed, and he injured his knee during the Seattle game as well.

Chandler’s left thigh has given him issues for weeks, but he said Wednesday he feels “great.”

Rivera said Foucault plays more naturally on the left side of the line than the right side. Foucault will be the second undrafted rookie on the line with left guard Andrew Norwell.

Along with Bell, cornerback Bene Benwikere (ankle), receiver/return Philly Brown (concussion), guard Amini Silatolu (calf), guard Trai Turner (knee) and running back Fozzy Whittaker (quad) will not play.

Safety Thomas DeCoud will be a game-time decision with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice Wednesday. If he doesn’t play, rookie Tre Boston will start in his place.