Carolina Panthers star center Ryan Kalil is one of the best players at his position in the league, and the 27-year-old is an invaluable piece of the team’s offense and an unsung hero on a national scale. Joe Person has tweeted the terrible news that Kalil could be out for the season with a foot injury that “is worse than first thought”.
With all the terrible stuff that has happened to the Panthers this year, this news just makes me want to hurl my laptop at the wall screaming “Why does this always happen to us?!”. I mean, it’s just the most ridiculous amount of bad luck, and this is just a blindsided hit that I never saw coming. Who knew that Kalil’s foot injury would end up being this bad?
If he’s done for the season, the running game is going to be even more disappointing and the pass protection is really going to suffer on the interior. Cam Newton isn’t going to have it any easier, and another injury to Jonathan Stewart would mean a one-dimensional offense for Carolina. Newton is the best quarterback on deep throws in the league, but you can’t make a living off of deep throws and stretching the field vertically like that only works if you have a good running game to set that up.
I know that at some point I’m overreacting, but the run blocking has largely been inconsistent this year. Heck, the blocking as a whole has been poor. Football Outsiders statistics rank the Panthers as 26th in pass protection and 28th in run blocking. Without Kalil, this team may very well drop two spots lower below the 30th-placed Oakland Raiders in run blocking.
Geoff Hangartner is a solid player, so hopefully he can make the transition to center even if it won’t be seamless. However, he isn’t as stellar of a player as Kalil and the fact that the star center could be placed on the injured reserve with his injury is shocking news. It’s the final dagger for a team with a middling group in pass pro and a line that has been inconsistent and below-average run blocking wise. Jordan Gross and Kalil are two of the brightest spots, and one of them is likely down for the entire year.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be watching highlights of our win against the New Orleans Saints. It’s been three letdowns in a row since that win. Four if you count this injury.
Update: He has been placed on the injured reserve. This sucks. It’s a Lisfranc injury, and he’ll need surgery and a season’s worth of rest to heal up. Best wishes, and I can’t wait to see him until the start of training camp. Now, to find a way to pave the way for the running backs. Lisfranc injuries are arguably the worst foot injuries out there, so let’s wish him a full recovery for next year.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.