Panthers make initial cuts

The Carolina Panthers started making those tough cuts on Sunday, cutting 11 players and placing Colin Branch on injured reserve. They still must make 3 more roster moves by 4pm Tuesday to get down to 65, (76 counting the NFL Europe players who are exempt during this round of cuts).

"It's something you never look forward to as a coach," Coach Fox said Sunday afternoon. "These guys all worked very hard. It's the tough part about the job."

The Panthers officially waved 11 players:

CB Dwight Anderson, South Dakota
OL Bill Ferrario, Wisconsin
C Chase Johnson, Texas Christian
DT Omari Jordan, Buffalo
LB Marcus Lawrence, South Carolina
RB Nick Maddox, Florida State
TE Chad Mustard, North Dakota
QB Rod Rutherford, Pittsburgh
WR Taylor Stubblefield, Purdue
WR J.R. Tolver, San Diego State
G Michael Watson, West Virginia

One of the more notable cuts, at least in the initial round, was Quarterback Rod Rutherford, who had been competing with 4th round pick Stefan LeFors for the 3rd string QB spot.

"Rod's a guy that I think has a future in this League," Fox said of Rutherford. "You never know, he could be back at our place in some capacity. I told him to take all of his experiences and use them as positives, learn from them and move on."

The Panthers still have to make 3 more roster moves before 4pm on Tuesday. Among players on the bubble are KR/RB Rod Smart, WR Drew Carter and S Ben Emanuel.

The Panthers also have to make a tough decision at punter; go with the experienced but older Tom Rouen, or the youthful Jason Baker that is full of potential. Rouen is more consistent, but Baker is a player the Panthers could use on kickoffs if Kasay were to falter.

The Panthers currently have 11 NFL Europe roster exemptions, which gives those players at least another game to prove their worth.

WR Aaron Boone
WR Hugo Lira
TE Dan Curley
T Ben Johnson
T Matt Hill
DT Eddie Freeman
DT Charles Hill
DE Isaac Hilton
LB Justin Smith
CB Marcus Floyd
LB Aden Durde

The Panthers have to shave their roster down to 53 by Saturday. The players have one more opportunity this Thursday against the Steelers to prove they deserve to be on the final roster. "I think it's tough every year," Fox said of the initial cuts. "The next one's tough, too. They are all tough in my mind."

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