The Carolina Panthers going into the off-season lost veteran left tackle, Jordan Gross, when he announced that he was retiring. After the Panthers did not draft an offensive tackle during the 2014 NFL Draft to protect Cam Newton’s blindside, Panthers fans were in some panic. However, the front office and the coaching staff were not. The answer for them was right on the roster, Nate Chandler and Byron Bell.
Bell who signed a restricted free agent contract as of late struggled at right tackle last season. The Panthers felt switching him back to his original college position left tackle this year, could not only help save his career, but help their offensive line out as well.
Now on the other side of the offensive line is potential starter Chandler. A player who has changed positions many times from tight-end in college, to defensive tackle in the NFL, to offensive lineman now for the Panthers. Chandler who started eight games for the Panthers last season (six as an offensive guard and two as a right tackle), helped improve the Panthers run game the last eight games of the season averaging over 100 yards per game. Chandler is definitely an under dog, and as reported has been sharing first-team reps with Bell at left tackle.
It will definitely be interesting to see who gets the start in Week 1 to protect Newton’s blindside. Newton coming off of ankle surgery will need all the protection he can get. Whomever gets the start at left tackle, assume the other starts on the right side. Stay tuned Panthers fans as the battle in the trenches heats up. #KEEPPOUNDING