The Carolina Panthers were expecting Mike Remmers to play a major role on Sunday as he was supposed to spend some time at center to give Ryan Kalil a break in addition to starting at right tackle. However, that changed with the injury to Daryl Williams and Remmers played the entire game at his primary position.
Even if Williams stayed healthy, the Panthers may not have wanted to move Remmers who had an impressive game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He actually was the fifth best right tackle in the league according to Pro Football Focus through the games on Sunday. Remmers finished the game with a positive 2.5 overall rating and was credited with only one quarterback hurry.
The Panthers have found a diamond in the rough when they picked up Remmers off the St. Louis Rams practice squad midway through last season. The team was struggling to find healthy offensive tackles and when Nate Chandler went on IR it presented an opportunity for Remmers, which he has seized.
There may not have been a better performance Sunday than the one by cornerback Josh Norman. He finished the game with five tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble and recovery and one interception. He returned the interception for a touchdown and gave the Panthers a 17-9 lead in the third quarter.
Based on Pro Football Focus’ ratings he was the fifth best cornerback in Week 1 with an overall rating of 3.3. He only allowed three receptions for 15 yards on nine targets.
Norman is seemingly picking up right where he left off a season ago, as he continues to play at a high level. The Panthers tried to work out a contract extension with Norman prior to the season but nothing materialized from it. If Norman continues to play like this, he could be in line for a huge contract this offseason.
While Remmers is seeing his stock rise, Michael Oher saw his stock take a hit Sunday. The free agent signing struggled against the Jaguars, giving up the only two sacks on Cam Newton as well as two QB hurries. This performance was a bit surprising because Oher had played very well during the preseason.
The Panthers’ offensive line was a major work in progress for most of 2014 and the team was trying to find the right combination on the fly. Well by the end of the season, the team had a good idea about four of the five starting positions and Oher was supposed to be that final missing piece.
Oher will need to improve quickly as the Panthers welcome the Houston Texans to town this Sunday. Their defense has some of the best pass rushers in the game like J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Brian Cushing.
Panthers Starting Wide Receivers
The organization had some concern about this position entering the season with Kelvin Benjamin being lost for the season with a knee injury. They may not have suspected it would be this bad as the team’s starting wide receivers combined for four receptions and 67 yards. The team’s number four wide receiver, Jerricho Cotchery, finished the game with four receptions, 45 yards and one touchdown by himself.
The biggest Achilles heel for this group was drops with Ted Ginn Jr. being credited with two of them and rookie Devin Funchess credited with one. Right now, there is not any room for mistakes with this group and have to help Newton by avoiding them.
The biggest boost for this group may be Kevin Norwood, who was acquired in a trade prior to the final preseason game. He was inactive for the game against the Jaguars as he tries to get up to speed with the Panthers offense. He is a player though who has reliable hands and could become a favorite of the Panthers quarterback by the end of the season.
Follow me on Twitter @BrandonCroce.