The much-maligned Carolina Panthers backfield will have a great bit of scrutiny this season, and they’ll have to encounter it without one of its presumed competitors for playing time.
Carolina’s official Twitter account released news of a season-long injury for rookie fullback Michael Zordich on Sunday:
FB Michael Zordich will be placed on IR after suffering an ACL injury in Friday’s game against Chicago.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) August 12, 2013
Following Friday’s game, it was clear that Zordich was injured, but this announcement was the final dagger. Zordich was an undrafted free agent who signed with Carolina out of Penn State (after a strong senior season), but he was considered to be a legit contender for playing time at the fullback spot with Mike Tolbert as the team’s only fullback returning from 2012.
It is certainly true that Cam Newton may be the best “running back” in Carolina, but the play of Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams will be key to any presumptive success of the team in 2013. The loss of Zordich shouldn’t be crippling, but another injury to that backfield could form trouble, and the spotlight is now on Mike Tolbert to provide lead blocking for the talented, yet injury-prone duo of tailbacks.