The Carolina Panthers have to deal with three major injuries this Sunday at Atlanta, against the Falcons in their first NFC South matchup of the season.
Starting left tackle Matt Kalil and starting right tackle Daryl Williams are on injured reserve with knee injuries, and starting tight end Greg Olsen is rehabilitating a fractured foot.
The Panthers are also potentially missing All-Pro right guard Trai Turner, who was still in the concussion protocol as of Thursday afternoon.
So how can the offense get into a rhythm quickly, despite the inevitable feeling-out period of all of this new personnel?
“(Quarterback) Cam Newton,” said offensive coordinator Norv Turner, with a big smile. “He hides a lot of things, a lot of deficiencies. And you can’t ask him to carry everything. But we have talented guys. We have receivers who can run and catch, we have backs who can run and catch. We have tight ends who have multiple skills.
“We just, again, we have to take our guys and see where we match up against Atlanta and get the best matchups we can, and avoid the real bad matchups.”
Turner said he’s confident the team won’t have any limitations against Atlanta.
For the most part, Newton and Turner made an efficient team in last week’s 16-8 season-opening victory over Dallas. Newton rushed 13 times for 58 yards and a touchdown, and was 17 of 26 passing for 161 yards.
“I thought he managed the game, and I thought he was very decisive in the passing game,” Turner said. “There were a number of times when he was really quick checking the ball down, giving the backs a chance to run. He got Jarius (Wright) in the red zone, gave him a chance to turn and run.
“He made very good decisions. He had a good ball game.”
After the game, Newton also threw out a great Turner impression, in which he joked that Turner said “baby” a lot.
Turner said his phone blew up with people talking about the impression and asking whether he had seen it.
“I haven’t seen it yet,” he laughed. “I don’t know if I can do that to myself or force myself to watch it. ... I probably say (‘baby’) a lot, but I’m not sayin’ it to him, that’s for sure.”