How concerning are the increasing injury concerns within the Carolina Panthers as the 2023 season fast approaches?
The Carolina Panthers - like many others around the league - are currently working their way through some injury problems with the 2023 season edging closer. A number of influential figures are currently on the shelf or being treated with extreme caution, which is the correct approach with nothing on the line at this stage of the preparation period.
Speedy wide receiver/kick returner Damiere Byrd is the latest to go on injured/reserve and might receive an injury settlement before being waived. This same scenario befell undrafted free agent Jalen Redmond this week after the defensive lineman endured a luckless spell with the Panthers.
Carolina Panthers are dealing with numerous preseason injuries
Frank Reich spent most of his latest media availability going over the lengthening injury list and their current status. The head coach hasn't put a definitive timeframe on wideout Terrace Marshall Jr.'s back tweak as yet - indicating that the problem might be worse than initially feared.
Others such as veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, kicker Eddy Pineiro, and offensive lineman Cade Mays are being kept out of Friday's game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Another unlikely to see the field during the preseason is running back Miles Sanders, although Reich did state via Augusta Stone from the team's website that the former second-round selection is getting close to a return.
"It's getting better. I don't know if we would have played him or not (regardless of injury) because I think he was looking really good and explosive. Maybe we would've played him for a couple carries, maybe not. But I think we're getting close."- Frank Reich via Panthers.com
This is all part of the business, unfortunately. The Panthers are also awaiting positive news surrounding Austin Corbett, the formidable right guard who's arguably being missed more than anybody as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Anyone who follows my work closely knows that I also cover the Washington Commanders over on Riggo's Rag. One thing that's been evident to me when examining both offseasons is the frequency and intensity surrounding sessions implemented by former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera compared to those transpiring in Carolina.
That might be by design to protect the players. The Panthers are obviously doing a lot of film study and conditioning/weight work, but it's an interesting approach to take considering the vast changes made across the franchise throughout one of the more memorable offseasons in recent memory.
While there is a need to make sure the players are fresh, it does increase the possibility of not starting sharp or executing effectively. Something that was demonstrated during a shutout loss against the New York Jets to begin their preseason engagements.
If this was the previous coaching regime, it might be more concerning. However, the Panthers invested untold wealth in acquiring an all-star coaching staff littered with progressive minds and vast experience - so they'll know better than anyone how to prepare this talented young roster for their upcoming challenges.
As for the injuries, Carolina just has to roll with the punches. A busy period of recruitment has the roster looking a little better in terms of depth, but Reich cannot afford some of his key men suffering long-term ailments with the NFC South there for the taking in 2023.
Nobody should be pressing the panic button just yet. But all it takes is one or two major injuries to shift this narrative.