Panthers Teammate of the Week Yields a Surprise Pick

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

So we at SBN have started a weekly series called 'Teammate of the Week' and this week's selection for the Panthers jumped right out at me this morning. After losing two OGs Chris Scott and Jeff Byers in the 1st half the Panthers turned to their only active non-center lineman left: OT Nate Chandler.

Remember Chandler is the converted DT who moved to OT this past offseason but now he looks to be a RG based on his play in the 2nd half in the Panthers 34-10 win over the Falcons. Of course, it did cause a little anxiety for our QB at first:

Chandler handles new role like old vet
"As I'm in cadence, Nate is asking Kalil, ‘Who do I have?' " Newton said. "As a quarterback, that's not exactly exciting like you want it to be, especially with it being a pass. Hearing those guys talking about, ‘Who do I have? Him? OK.' And then it's, ‘Hut!' "But he did an unbelievable job. He did great, and he's going to keep learning. Nate is a competitor. I've got all the faith in him."

I absolutely love that...Chandler is like "hey just point to my guy and I'll just maul him!" This is a guy that has never played OG in his life other than a few ST situations. I know we the CSR staff loved to rag on Chandler about his position move during training camp and couldn't believe he survived the final cut down. Now we are seeing why the Panthers kept him around though I can;t imagine they expected this.

"Nate Chandler hadn't had any reps at guard since he moved from defensive tackle, but he knows the plays, he knows what to do," left tackle Jordan Gross said. "Nate's a great athlete. When I saw him come in I said, ‘Well, we'll see how this goes.' "It was pretty beautiful to see that happen for him."

After a self-described shaky start, Chandler played like a veteran. The Panthers rushed for just 26 yards in the first half, but back-to-back runs of 9 yards by DeAngelo Williams – to the right side – at the start of the third quarter set the tone for 105 second-half rushing yards as Carolina slowly pulled away for a 34-10 win.

"He played hard, and we didn't really miss a beat with him in there," center Ryan Kalil said. "That gives him a lot of confidence, and that gives us a lot of confidence in him moving forward.

So it sounds like Kalil is endorsing Chandler to stay at RG for the 49ers game. Hey why not? If neither Scott or Byers can suit up then it's not like we have many better options. Of course, now that the Panthers are back in the hunt I wonder if it might loosen up Gettleman's purse strings a little. I imagine Geoff Hangartner is still available and he could certainly step right in with little coaching prep needed. Just a thought.

So huge kudos to Nate Chandler and the job he did at RG when his team needed him most. For that I deem him our Panthers Teammate of the Week!

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