2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers banged up DBs preparing for Eli, Giants

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-18 17:53

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Perhaps this is the week for Eli Manning to get back on track.

The Carolina Panthers have some major injury concerns in the secondary as they prepare to host Manning and the New York Giants on Sunday in a game crucial for both 0-2 teams.

Carolina lost starting free safety Charles Godfrey over the weekend to a torn Achilles tendon and five other defensive backs missed all or part of Wednesday's practice, including starting cornerback Josh Thomas (concussion).

Safety Quintin Mikell (knee) and cornerback DJ Moore (knee), Josh Norman (thigh) and Thomas sat out practice, while cornerback James Dockery (hand) was limited.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera hopes to get some of those injured players back this week, but says undrafted rookie Robert Lester - who was signed from the practice squad on Tuesday - will start at safety Sunday if Mikell can't play.

Rivera said the injuries are ``concerning'' considered Manning's talent and experience at picking apart defenses.

``We have some young guys who will have to take some reps and get ready to play,'' Rivera said. ``But hopefully we can get some of these guys back on the field and get them geared up. But there is concern, yes. I'm not going to kid you about that.''

The Panthers were left with only five healthy defensive backs on Wednesday, which isn't good news for a unit that was considered the team's weakest link coming into the season.

Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott knows his secondary will have its hands full with Manning, even though the two-time Super Bowl MVP has struggled with seven interceptions in two games.

McDermott said the Panthers will rely on their strength on defense - their front seven - to pressure Manning into mistakes.

``They have to be special for us,'' McDermott said. ``That's what we've talked about - the great players have to play great every week.''

McDermott said one of the things the secondary is working on this week is better communication after some breakdowns in Carolina's 24-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

The onslaught of injuries caused some problems between players not used to playing with each other - or in some cases playing out of position.

Things were so dire at one point Sunday the Panthers talked about moving linebacker Thomas Davis to free safety because they didn't have enough defensive backs to use in nickel packages.

All of this would seem to be good news for Manning, who has a good track record against the Panthers.

Last year Manning completed 27 of 35 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown as the Giants embarrassed the Panthers 36-7 in front of their home crowd and a national television audience.

``Eli is a tremendous competitor who feels worse about bad plays than anything I can heap on his shoulders,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ``He knows. He's working hard to control the situation and stay within himself and realize that some of those plays you think you have to make, the percentages aren't with you.''

Not surprisingly, Coughlin said the Giants have included cutups from last year's game as part of their preparation for the Panthers.

It's a good bet Manning will be targeting a thin Carolina secondary.

``We have to see who is going to be out there for Carolina,'' Manning said. ``... Their front seven is very talented and their linebackers are good. We have to handle the guys up front to get the ball down the field.''

Panthers safety Mike Mitchell said the key will be not allowing Manning to get into a groove.

Last year Manning led the Giants to scores on their first four possessions to take an early 20-0 lead and the Panthers pretty much rolled over and played dead after that point. Manning did that despite playing without starting wide receiver Hakeem Hicks, who sat out with an injury.

``We have to try to frustrate Eli early and not let him get any big plays early,'' Mitchell said. ``He's a two-time Super Bowl champion and we'll have our hands full, but we are definitely going to be ready.''

--

AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

--

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveReedAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Patrick PetersonJul 28 04:01p

Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson will be used strictly on defense this season and will not see time in any offensive situations. The Cardinals have excess capacity at wide [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 28 03:42p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) has a bone bruise, according to head coach Ron Rivera. There is swelling in the knee but nothing is structurally damaged.

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:37p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller will be used much like Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy was last season. That means he should see quite a few passes headed his [ More ]

Ndamukong SuhJul 28 03:32p

Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh's contract extension discussion will be put on hold until the end of the season, according to a source.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 03:12p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) missed practice Monday, July 28, to receive treatment for his injured hamstring. Head coach Tom Coughlin said Beckham probably has some tests scheduled for the hamstring.

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 03:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams looks to be a longshot for the final roster, because he is not a good special teams player and would have to help on [ More ]

M. BernadeauJul 28 02:43p

Dallas Cowboys OG Mackenzy Bernadeau has been working at left guard with the first-team offense, because OG Ronald Leary (hamstring) has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Bernadeau and [ More ]

Dan WilliamsJul 28 02:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Dan Williams (knee) is not expected to participate in practice Monday, July 28, but the team does not believe his knee injury is serious.

Everette BrownJul 28 02:22p

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent LB Everette Brown (Cowboys). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

B. RoethlisbergerJul 28 02:02p

The Pittsburgh Steelers are confident that they will be able sign QB Ben Roethlisberger before his current contract expires, according to general manager Kevin Colbert. Colbert said he expects [ More ]

Anthony GaitorJul 28 01:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed free-agent CB Anthony Gaitor (Dolphins) and undrafted free-agent DT Jibreel Black (Michigan). Terms of the contracts were not disclosed, but all contracts signed [ More ]

Alshon JefferyJul 28 01:32p

Updating a previous report, Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) left practice early Monday, July 28, because of a sore foot.

Matt CasselJul 28 01:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Matt Cassel, Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder have been evenly splitting reps during the early part of training camp, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 28 01:23p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's (knee) left knee injury isn't expected to be serious, and head coach Ron Rivera is optimistic that Benjamin won't miss much time. Benjamin is [ More ]

Adrian PetersonJul 28 01:12p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson does not need to play in the preseason to show something to the coaching staff, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer said Peterson [ More ]

Golden TateJul 28 01:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate (shoulder) was removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 28, and he is expected to take part in the team's first [ More ]

Frank GoreJul 28 12:53p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore is unlikely to play in the preseason this year. RBs Carlos Hyde and Jewel Hampton have both looked good so far during training [ More ]

Trent ColeJul 28 12:42p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy and LB Trent Cole squared off in a fight during training camp Sunday, July 27. 'Next thing you know, they're on the ground scuffling,' [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJul 28 10:13a

Cleveland Browns WRs Charles X. Johnson (knee) and Travis Benjamin (knee) are riding the stationary bike and working on the side Monday, July 28.

Micah HydeJul 28 10:03a

Green Bay Packers FS Micah Hyde has the edge over S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for the starting free safety spot.

Ray RiceJul 28 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice did not appeal his two-game suspension.

Kenny StillsJul 28 09:32a

New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem (back) and WR Kenny Stills (quadriceps) are out of practice Monday, July 28.

Chris RaineyJul 28 08:52a

The Indianapolis Colts released RB Chris Rainey.

Mike IupatiJul 28 04:02a

The San Francisco 49ers plan to re-sign RG Mike Iupati at some point. Originally the team thought it would not be able to keep him due to a higher [ More ]

Tim HightowerJul 28 03:22a

Former Washington Redskins RB Tim Hightower, who suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and a subsequent infection, was spotted at Washington Redskins camp in the past few days. Hightower [ More ]

Alan BonnerJul 28 12:52a

The Houston Texans have waived injured WR Alan Bonner (foot). Bonner suffered a broken foot during practice Saturday, July 26.

Russell OkungJul 28 12:22a

Seattle Seahawks OT Russell Okung (foot) is about two weeks away from returning to practice, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Terrell McClainJul 28 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Terrell McClain (ankle), LB DeVonte Holloman (dehydration) and FS Matt Johnson (hamstring) left practice early Sunday, July 27, because of injuries.

Koa MisiJul 27 11:52p

Miami Dolphins LB Koa Misi (foot) left practice early Sunday, July 27, because of a foot injury. He has told people that someone stepped on his foot and that he will be fine.

Dre KirkpatrickJul 27 11:02p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) did not participate in practice Sunday, July 27, because of an apparent hamstring injury. The injury is not expected to keep him out for long.

D.J. HaydenJul 27 10:32p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) still has no definite timetable for his return, but the team is optimistic that he will be ready for the start of the [ More ]

Kyle RudolphJul 27 10:32p

The Minnesota Vikings have signed TE Kyle Rudolph to a five-year extension worth $36.5 million.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group