Panthers backup quarterback Derek Anderson caught an illness from one of his children and hasn’t practiced this week.
Coach Ron Rivera saidhe doesn’t know specifically what’s ailing Anderson, but “he’s seen the doctors” and was advised that it’s contagious, so he must stay away from the team.
Third-string quarterback Joe Webb will fill Anderson’s role, and has taken the larger share of reps this week at practice - even over starter Cam Newton.
That doesn’t mean Webb’s fans will get to see him play, however. Newton has been limited in practice for the past three weeks with shoulder soreness, but has not missed any games. Rivera said he expects Newton to play against Tampa Bay this Sunday, in the team’s season finale.
Newton missed the season’s first game against the Buccaneers while in the concussion protocol.
Webb moving into the backup role also means the Panthers must reach deep into the bag if an emergency third-stringer is necessary. In this case, it’s wide receiver Philly Brown.
“He can throw it,” Rivera said jokingly of Brown. “Just tell everybody we’re gonna run bootleg tomorrow.”
Rivera said Brown will actually take reps at quarterback on Saturday, just in case he’s needed Sunday.
Also listed as “out” against Tampa Bay is veteran defensive end Charles Johnson, who has a slew of injuries, including a hamstring aggravation and a foot issue.
Carolina placed three players on injured reserve this week: safety Tre Boston, defensive end Ryan Delaire and wide receiver Devin Funchess (all with knee injuries). Starting at safety for Boston will be Michael Griffin, and Damiere Byrd will fill in for Funchess after his promotion from the practice squad.
Rivera said Byrd would see plenty of action in his NFL debut, and might get a chance at kick return.
“He had a good preseason of good returning punts and kickoffs, so that’s one of the things we want to do is give him his opportunity,” Rivera said.
“He’s worked really hard for us, he really has. He deserves this opportunity.”