Carolina Panthers rule out two players versus the New Orleans Saints.
The immediate futures of both teams have already been determined prior to the final whistle blowing on Sunday. For New Orleans, another divisional title and trip to the playoffs follows with only their final seed to be determined. Opposite, the Carolina Panthers are putting finishing touches on another late season collapse and hoping to avoid losing eight in a row with a victory.
Their focus turns to the offseason where a number of unknowns are going to be addressed. The futures of quarterback Cam Newton, tight end Greg Olsen and a number of other veterans who were signed last year to one-year contracts remain up in the air. In addition, finding the fifth coach in franchise history will also keep owner David Tepper busy ahead of next year’s NFL Draft.
If Carolina hopes to end 2019 on a high note, it will need to do so without the services of two key figures – one on offense and the other on defense. The official injury report lists both wide receiver D.J. Moore and linebacker Shaq Thompson as out for the game.
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Moore was questionable earlier in the week continuing to deal with a concussion suffered in Indianapolis a week prior. His absence means rookie quarterback Will Grier will again lean on running back Christian McCaffrey to help move the ball on offense both through the air and on the ground.
Defensively, Carolina will miss linebacker Shaq Thompson who was ruled out with a foot injury but also underwent a surgical procedure on his shoulder. The move, being advertised as procedural and not expected to impact his future fits a long history of vague injury revelations from the Panthers. Having recently signed a $54.2 million extension, hopefully he makes a full recovery and continues to make his presence felt on defense well into the future.
Defensive end Marquis Haynes and cornerback Corn Elder are the only other two players listed – both are questionable and should be game time decisions. The Panthers and Saints kick off at 1:00pm ET on Sunday.