Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes the ball as tackle Jordan Gross (69) blocks and New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) pressures and outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) helps defend in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Rumors: Who's protecting Cam Newton's blindside?

Jordan Gross retired early this offseason and left an open competition for the left tackle position. The only problem is that the Panthers may not have anyone ready to fill it. Ron Rivera isn’t sure which player he will pick to start to protect Cam Newton. Though it is not time to panic in Carolina.

“We’ve not decided on a lot of positions yet,” Rivera said, via the Associated Press. “The biggest thing we have right now is competition and guys working. … We’ll see how we are once we get into training camp.”

The main competitors for the position include Byron Bell, last year’s starting right tack, and Nate Chandler, a converted defensive tackle. But neither player has any left tackle experience on their NFL resumes, and thus the Panthers can’t be exuding confidence about the most important position on the offense line — the one that protects Superman’s blindside.

Garry Williams could also figure into the mix once he returns from his knee injury. According to the AP, the former two players don’t care which position they play. Perhaps they are just being political, but left tackle is one of the hardest to play in football. You have to want to play there. It’s worse than referee. In Week 1, they’ll be held accountable for Mario Williams. They get all the blame and none of the credit.

And while salary is not always a strong indicator of talent, Bell and Chandler will make a combined $2.6 million this season. That’s less than most left tackles make in a year.

If the Panthers can’t shore up the left tackle position, it’s going to be a long season for Cam Newton.


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Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers

  • ahrcshaw

    No question left tackle is an important position, but so are all the other positions. Football is a team sport, that said. Cam was sacked numerous times last year, some sacks came from the box 8 blitz, some were great plays. A major problem was Cam, who kept the ball longer then most QB’s.

    The biggest problem the Panthers faced in the last couple of years was the lack of a passing attack which allowed the Box 8 and that was caused by Cam (and OC) trying to push the field too far down field. ie the Bomb. Ginn, help elevate part of this but it was not enough to open the running part of the Offense, but Cam also improved with his short quick passes, with the only exception being his High Fast Ball.

    Solution solved. Bigger WR’s, Two pass catching TE’s one of which is a good run blocker. Cam has also learned to pass quicker. This will eliminate the full time box 8 and allow Cam to check off if need be, run the option run pass more effectivlly, as well as enhance the running game.

    This, however does not eliminate the need of a OLT, but it would have even helped Gross last year. Remember he was even sighted for allowing too many sacks.