Newly acquired Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Mike Remmers has played for six teams in two-plus seasons, but has appeared in only one regular-season game.
He could double that total Thursday when the Panthers face the New Orleans Saints. Such is the state of the Panthers’ banged-up line.
Three of the five starting linemen missed practice Tuesday when left tackle Byron Bell (elbow) and guards Trai Turner (knee) and Amini Silatolu (calf) were sidelined. Bell played with a brace on his left elbow Sunday against Seattle, but was largely ineffective.
Coach Ron Rivera expressed concern about Bell’s status, especially during a short week.
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Right tackle Nate Chandler took reps on the left side Tuesday, as did French-Canadian rookie David Foucault. Remmers, signed off St. Louis’ practice squad, and recently reacquired Chris Scott worked at both guard and tackle.
Remmers, who was undrafted out of Oregon State in 2012, said the only game action of his career didn’t last long. He played four snaps for San Diego against Jacksonville last season before injuring his ankle while run-blocking.
Rivera said Remmers might have to play against the Saints.
“Mike’s done a nice job,” Rivera said. “He was in meetings as soon as he finished his physical. We had him in the walk-through. He took reps with the first bunch. We have a plan just in case and we’ll see how the guys are (Wednesday).”
Despite the retirement of left tackle Jordan Gross during the offseason, the Panthers chose not to address the position in free agency or the draft. Rivera defended the decision, saying Bell and Chandler had played well before recent injuries.
Foucault, the No. 5 pick in the Canadian Football League draft, was signed as a project before getting pressed into action when No. 3 tackle Garry Williams was placed on injured reserve with a back issue in September.
Remmers, 25, signed with Denver in 2012, but spent most of his rookie season on Tampa Bay’s practice squad. He’s also had stops in Minnesota, San Diego and St. Louis.
He said he learned he was coming to Charlotte on Monday two hours before his flight from St. Louis left.
“So I packed as fast as I could,” he said. “It’s a crazy life. When I was in college I had no idea it was like this.”
DeCoud hopeful: The Panthers brought up safety Robert Lester from the practice squad as insurance against Thomas DeCoud’s hamstring injury, but DeCoud is still adamant he will play Thursday.
“It felt good,” he said after practice. “Today I rested it a bit and did mental reps but I’ll be good for Thursday.”
DeCoud injured his hamstring in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against Seattle. He tried to return to the game but left after one play and was replaced by Tre Boston, who gave up Seattle’s winning touchdown to Luke Wilson.
“The unfortunate part was on the touchdown play he opened his hips a little bit, drop-stepped and created a little bit of space between him and the tight end,” Rivera said of Boston’s coverage. “What you’d like him to do is shuffle his feet, move sideways, engage, take the air out of his coverage and probably knock the ball down.”
DeCoud said after Sunday’s game he would have to be dragged away kicking and screaming to not play against the Saints this week.
Short week shorter: The NFL has evened the playing field on Thursday Night Football games by making all 32 teams participate in one, but there are still inequities to the process.
While the Saints and Panthers played Sunday, New Orleans played on Sunday Night Football. Carolina finished its 13-9 loss at 3:53 p.m., but the Saints didn’t cap their 44-23 win against the Packers until 11:33 p.m.
Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott had already eaten dinner with his family and returned to the Panthers’ facilities to game-plan for the Saints before New Orleans’ game was final.
Add on a flight – albeit a charter – and a one-night stay in a hotel – albeit a nice one – and the Saints have an even shorter week than the Panthers.
“None of it is in your control. It is what it is,” New Orleans coach Sean Payton said. “I think the key thing is making sure that your players and your staff and everyone involved isn’t looking at that as a crutch.
“You’re really trying to get them recovered, making sure they have the proper rest but also enough in the game plan of things they know well where they can execute. Certainly it’s a short week and it becomes shorter obviously with the Sunday night game. We were lucky it didn’t go into overtime.”
Extra points: To make room for Remmers and Lester on the active roster, the Panthers placed outside linebacker Chase Blackburn on injured reserve and waived rookie running back Darrin Reaves. Blackburn has missed the past two games with a patellar tendon injury that will not require surgery, Rivera said.
Fullback Mike Tolbert, who is on IR with the designation to return, ran on the side and said he’s “way ahead of schedule.” Tolbert, who injured his leg against Pittsburgh in Week 3, said he fully expects to be ready when he’s eligible to return to the active roster for Week 13 at Minnesota.