Most Carolina Panthers fans were hoping beyond all hope that the team would come up with an answer at left guard this season that did not involve Amini Silatolu. It looks like they may end up getting their wish, but in a manner that is less than ideal. On Tuesday during the walk-through ahead of their first preseason contest against the Buffalo Bills, Silatolu left the field seated in the front of a cart with reported “knee soreness” which later had him taking a trip back to Charlotte for further evaluation. This evening, it is reported the damage is more than just a bruise:
Panthers left guard Amini Silatolu will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 7, 2018
It is anticipated that Silatolu will miss about six weeks recovering from the injury, meaning for at least the first couple of games, the team will have to find a different answer. That person could very well end up being the starter the entire season with a good enough performance. The problem is... no one currently on the roster has the experience needed to be the obvious choice at the position.
All the options the Panthers have were either on other teams last season, playing a different position, or even just now making their first NFL apperance. The hottest name in the building right now is Brendan Mahon, a guy who went undrafted this year, but that the coaches “like.”
Not to be a sour puss... but if they really liked him a whole lot, wouldn’t they have thrown a late draft pick at him? At the absolute best, they liked him enough to bid for his services with all the other teams in the league knowing that he could have signed anywhere else. That’s about the same amount that I “like” coming around the corner the moment someone is backing out of a parking space at Costco, saving me from having to drive the extra 50 feet to take a slightly farther spot.
Look, I hope Mahon is the next Andrew Norwell as much as you do. It would be tremendous for us to hit that jackpot twice in a row. At the same time, I recognize that an undrafted guy making an impact on his first NFL team is very very rare, and should not be counted upon. I’m more angry at the Panthers for considering this situation as a viable option to replace Norwell, more than I am the guy himself.
Let’s hope for our sake, and especially for Cam Newton, that one of these young men can shock us all.