This weekend’s roster cuts for the Carolina Panthers were already going to be tough on general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera.
And after Thursday night’s lopsided 23-6 win against the Steelers, a few of those decisions only got more difficult.
Injuries across the defensive backfield may cause the Panthers to find some help following Saturday’s cuts after Josh Norman left the game with a concussion. Charles Tillman is recovering from a concussion and backup Teddy Williams suffered a groin injury during the game.
And with the versatility of several offensive linemen, former second-round pick Amini Silatolu could get squeezed out after the guard got bullied on a first-quarter Mike Tolbert run that lost four yards.
Fifth-round linebacker David Mayo is still positioned behind six other linebackers on the depth chart, and his lack of big plays this preseason – including Thursday night – may make him the rare Panthers’ draftee cut in his rookie season to only end up on the practice squad.
The Panthers have until 4 p.m. Saturday to narrow their roster from 75 to 53, but that process could begin as early as Friday morning once coaches review the tape from Thursday’s win.
Three who mattered
Devin Funchess: The Panthers monitored Funchess’ reps considering his hamstring injury. He got three passes his way and caught two for 22 yards.
Damiere Byrd: The undrafted rookie out of South Carolina muffed two punts but recovered. Carolina likes his speed, and a year on the practice squad would do him good.
Shaq Thompson: After an overpursuit on a first-series pass to Martavis Bryant, the rookie linebacker settled in and had three tackles on the night.
▪ The Panthers handed the Steelers a healthy diet of Cameron Artis-Payne in the first half. The rookie from Auburn had 12 carries for 67 yards in the first two quarters, including one series where he rushed five consecutive times.
▪ Defensive end Mario Addison had a great bull rush in the first half where he pushed the left tackle into Michael Vick’s lap and caused a sack.
▪ In fact, three Panthers sacked Vick on Thursday. Kawann Short and Rakim Cox also got to Vick, which is probably a surreal feeling for guys to sack a quarterback they grew up watching.
▪ Newest Panthers receiver Kevin Norwood didn’t see much action in the first half but had two passes go his way for 20 yards. He also showed his blocking ability on a seal block on a third-quarter rush.
▪ Brenton Bersin caught four passes for 29 yards and Corey Brown, who’s struggled with drops this preseason, caught the only pass that came his way for 9 yards.
▪ The Steelers blocked a Panthers’ punt in the third quarter but don’t look for it as a sign from last year. That wasn’t Carolina’s first bunch out there, and protector Dean Marlowe – who let the Steelers’ player get by him – will likely be on the practice squad if he makes the team.
▪ Through the first three quarters, Pittsburgh had just four first downs compared to Carolina’s 23.
▪ Carolina went 3-1 this preseason. The Panthers haven’t had a losing preseason record since 2011.
They said it
“It was a great call. DA (Derek Anderson) made an audible at the line, and the offensive line picked up the blocks very well. I was able to shrug off a tackle and then it was off to the races. I was able to use my speed to split the safeties.” – RB Jordan Todman on his 49-yard touchdown run.