Nate Chandler is a team player. After moving from DT to OT in the offseason, the coaching staff had little choice but to insert the 2nd year man into the lineup after a rash of injuries on the offensive line.
The results were not any worse than Panthers fans are accustom to. While the right side of the line gave up three sacks to Ahmad Brooks, two of them were clearly on the RT, and the third was on a stunt to the inside -- in Chandlers area -- on a zone passing play.
With incumbent Chris Scott sidelined for what could be a few more weeks, Chandler will get a least a couple more opportunities to show the coaching staff that he is up to the task.
The Panthers are not without other options, as they did re-sign veteran G/C Geoff Hangartner last week just to have seven lineman on the gameday 46, but he did not see any action against the 49ers. Luckily, the Panthers aren't desperate to replace Chandler after he held his own against a very good San Francisco defense.
That said, the offensive coaching staff still felt compelled to hide it's leaky right side as best they could. Per usual, many of the runs went to the left side Sunday, as the right side of the line has been little more than a liability in the running game. Plus, with the injury to DE Ray McDonald, the 49ers were using a mixture of rookies and backup players at that left DE spot (across from the RG), so Chandler has not necessarily been adequately tested to this point.
Even with the line's continued struggles, Nate Chandler may be an option as a long-term depth player (and maybe even a starter) moving forward. He has adequate size for a guard -- although he may be built like a tackle -- and he has very long arms and good range downfield on screen passes.
If Chandler can duplicate his Sunday performance next week against New England -- or even show improvement -- it may give the coaches something to think about when Chris Scott does get healthy.