The events leading up to Sunday’s regular-season finale between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints have the game feeling more like Week 4 of the preseason.
You’ll probably see more backups than usual with both teams’ postseason fate sealed, but as the Panthers prepare to take the field with third-string quarterback Kyle Allen, they could be doing so with an even more makeshift offensive line.
Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner (ankle) and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (hip) both missed their second straight practice Thursday, creating some discomfort in what has already been a patchwork offensive line this season.
Turner has battled a series of injuries over the past month and was an early exit from Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who the team placed on injured reserve this week, took a beating behind that line in his first career start but head coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers are confident in the theoretical “next man up.”
“You are concerned with Marshall and Trai, but we’ll see how they are tomorrow,” he said. “But we also feel good about the players that will be playing, so we’ll just go from there. It’s one of those things where that’s just the circumstances of football.”
Kawann Short (calf) and Cam Newton (right shoulder) each missed their second straight practice as well after missing Sunday’s game. Newton will not play against the Saints; Short’s status remains unclear.
Bryan Cox, Jr. (not injury related) and Kenjon Barner (knee) each missed Thursday’s practice after practicing in full Wednesday. Mike Adams, Thomas Davis, Christian McCaffrey, Ryan Kalil and Julius Peppers all practiced in full after resting Wednesday.