Panthers Interior Offensive Line
The Carolina Panthers faced one of the better defensive tackles last week in Marcell Dareus. Unfortunately it doesn’t get any easier for the interior of the offensive line as they will face Miami Dolphins’ Ndamukong Suh.
Suh joined the Dolphins this offseason and is now the top paid defensive player in the NFL thanks to a six-year, $114 million. He is one of the premier defensive linemen in the game today and is one of the best tackles at getting to the quarterback.
This means that second year guards Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell, along with veteran center Ryan Kalil, are going to have their hands full Saturday night. Now the positive is that this group did a good job against Dareus and the rest of the Bills defensive line on Friday night.
The Panthers offensive line did a good job of giving Cam Newton time in the pocket and keep him standing up right. This will be another great test for this group going up against the Dolphins.
The most effective running back in the first preseason game was probably the one who many didn’t think much about. The Panthers signed Jordan Todman as a free agent after he spent the past two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There is two things that the team knew they were getting with Todman and that is he was one of the best kickoff return men a season ago and that he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Last year he finished with 972 kickoff return yards, which was the third highest total in the NFL, and averaged 25.6 yards per return.
He also has proven to be an effective receiver out of the backfield with 25 receptions for 198 yards and one touchdown. He actually finished the year with more targets (38) than carries (32). Well against Buffalo he showed to be an effective runner and picking up yards in chunks. He only got three carries but picked up 23 yards, averaged 7.7 yards per carry and was the only back with a run over 10 yards.
Now, Todman is not going to be challenging Jonathan Stewart for his starting job but he is making a case that he should be a part of this offense. He certainly could fill that change-of-pace back, one that will give Newton another receiver on the field and can pick up yards quickly on draw plays.
The Panthers fourth-round pick got his first taste of NFL action against the Buffalo Bills and will be looking to build on that performance against the Dolphins. The right tackle out of Oklahoma looks like he will be regulated to back up his rookie season but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been impressive this preseason.
Against the Buffalo Bills, Pro Football Focus gave him a positive rating of 2.9, which was the best rating of anyone on the Panthers’ offense. The thing fans should be watching for when Williams is in is where exactly he is lining up. He has proven he has the ability to play right tackle but he has seen time on the left side as well. This type of flexibility will be huge for the Panthers’ depth at the offensive tackle, which took a hit with the retirement of Jonathan Martin.
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