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

Dane FletcherMay 27 02:33a

Free-agent LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) has returned to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

Devonta FreemanMay 26 09:53p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman worked with the first-team offense during organized team activities Tuesday, May 26.

Charles SimsMay 26 05:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims has a solid chance of beating out RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay's starting running back gig, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

A.J. JenkinsMay 26 01:02p

Free-agent WR A.J. Jenkins (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, May 26, according to a source. Jenkins was the 30th overall pick by the San [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 26 08:43a

Updating an ongoing story, the Dallas Cowboys have moved on from the idea of trading for Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, despite persistent rumors, according to The Dallas Morning [ More ]

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group