We have a unique challenge facing us this week. I know of no other team that has as much experience together in the same system as the Carolina Panthers in the trenches.
At Left Tackle the Panthers start #69 Jordan Gross. Gross is 6’4” and 305. He is in his sixth year, all with Carolina. Gross is backed up by #76 Frank Omiyale who is 6’4” and 310. He is in his fourth season, two with Carolina.
Travelle Wharton wears #70 and starts at Left Guard. He is 6’4” and 312. He is in his fifth year out of South Carolina, all with Carolina. His back-up is Jeremy Bridges who is 6’4” and 326 lbs. He wears #73 and is in his sixth season, three with Carolina.
The starting Center is Ryan Kalil #67 who is 6’4” and weighs in at 295 lbs. He is out of USC and in his second season, both with Carolina. The back up at Center is Geoff Hangartner #63 who is 6’5” and 303. He is in his fourth season out of Tex. A&M, all with Carolina.
The Right Guard is Keydrick Vincent who sport #68. Vincent is 6’5” and 325. He is an eight year veteran from Mississippi and in his second year with Carolina.
The Right tackle is 6’6’ 330 Lb. rookie draft choice Jeff Otah. Otah is sort of the Panther’s version of Clady and wears #79.
The Tight Ends are #47 Jeff King (no, he is not the famous Iditarod dog musher) who is a mammoth 6’3” and 260 lbs. and Dante Rosario who is also large at 6’4” and 250 lbs. King is in his third season, all with Carolina. Rosario is in his second season, both with Carolina.
The Offensive Line Coach is David Magazu. Some on the MHR might remember him from his stint at CSU from 92-94. He has been with Carolina since 2003.
This unit is big, fast and strong. They have all come up through the Carolina system or have been with the team for a minimum of two years. They Zone Block primarily but will deviate when necessary. There is consistency in coaching and this unit plays together as a unit as well as any in the NFL. The O-Line is the heart of the Carolina offense.
Carolina Front Seven:
At Left End Carolina starts #95, Charles Johnson. Johnson is 6’2” and 275. He was drafted by Carolina two years ago. He is backed up by a familiar face. Tyler Brayton, who wears #96, is from Colorado and spent five years in oakland.
The Left tackle is Maake Kenoeatu wearing #99. He is 6’5” and 354lbs. He is a seven year veteran out of Utah, three with Carolina. He is their primary run stuffer.
Damione Lewis is the Right tackle. He is 6’2” and 302 and is in his eighth year out of Miami. He has three years with the Panthers.
Perhaps the most recognizable name on the Carolina front seven is Right End Julius Peppers. Peppers is 6’7” and 283 lbs. He was drafted by Carolina seven years ago out of North Carolina. He wears #90 and has 44 tackles thus far this year and is tied for fourth in sacks in the NFL with 12 ½.
At Weak Side Linebacker Carolina starts Na’il Diggs who is 6’4” and 240 lbs. He is in his ninth year out of Ohio State and has spent the last three years with Carolina.
Jon Beason #52 starts at Middle Linebacker. He is 6’0” and 237. He was drafted by Carolina two years ago out of Miami. He consistently averages between nine and ten tackles a game.
The Strong Side Linebacker is Thomas Davis who wears #58. He is 6’0” and 240. He was drafted four years ago out of Georgia.
Two other Linebackers who might see action are #50 James Anderson who is 6’3” and 235 who was drafted three years ago out of Va. Tech. and Dan Conner #57 a 6’2” 231 lb. rookie out of Penn St.
Carolina plays a standard 4-3 and a Cover 2. This unit is also steeped in the Carolina Defensive system. They have all either come up through the ranks at Carolina or have spent at least two years wearing a Panther jersey.
In summary, the Carolina trenches are manned by experienced players who have played together for a minimum of two years. They are big and strong and very physical. We have our work cut out for us this week for sure, in the trenches.