Matt Kalil is eligible to return, but is it worth breaking up the current offensive line?
The Carolina Panthers now have a decision to make with Matt Kalil.
For a depleted Carolina Panthers offensive line, there is some good news on the horizon. Left tackle Matt Kalil is eligible to return to practice this week. No matter the opinions of him, it is always encouraging when a player returns to full health.
In talking to the media on Monday, head coach Ron Rivera said he had not talked to Ryan Vermillion, the team trainer, and that he would know more on Kalil’s condition once he did so.
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As many of you may remember, Kalil had a rough August. Following a poor performance against the Miami Dolphins in the team’s second preseason game, he was put on injured reserve the following Monday. For many fans, he has not been worth his $55 million contract. For the doubters, the bad news is that he is only in the second year of the deal.
The offensive line has been holding their own so far this season, ranking No. 24 in the National Football League with 12 sacks given up on the year. Honestly, it has been a relief that the Panthers have protected Newton so well. That was one of the biggest question marks heading into the season and so far, the question has been answered in a positive manner.
One of the things I would watch for is should Matt Kalil return for the season, will that affect the rhythm of the offensive line? Currently, Chris Clark is the starter at left tackle. To his credit, he has been playing well for the team, especially given the fact he was a late preseason acquisition. Would the Carolina Panthers want to mess up the groove the line has as a unit?
For now, the latest sample size we can give Matt Kalil in terms of judging how he has done this year is the Miami game. I would take a long, hard look during practice and see if he is capable enough of performing at a high level. If you already have something that is working, why bother trying to change it? I am all for giving Matt Kalil a chance, but I would certainly put him on a short leash.
He is a veteran so he certainly has earned his right to playing time. However, with a bunch of crucial games coming up, the Panthers should not do anything that would drastically alter their offensive line. It will be interesting to see what the coaching staff does once Kalil returns. It is truly quite a conundrum.