CHARLOTTE – The Panthers' rotation at running back and cornerback is up in the air for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the defensive end rotation will again be without sack leader
Johnson will miss his second consecutive game with a knee injury, but head coach Ron Rivera likes what he's seen from reserves
"Mario showed us some really good stuff, as did Frank. Hopefully we can get that kind of play again to replace Charles Johnson," Rivera said Friday. "C.J. is huge for us, but unfortunately we don't have him so it's by committee right now.
"I think he's got every opportunity to play next week. He had a big day today. Watching him go through his paces with the training staff and strength and conditioning guys, it got me pretty excited that he's getting close."
Three running backs are questionable, but only one is of significant concern to Rivera.
"A lot of concern with DeAngelo. Everyone else, we'll see how they are tomorrow. They had good practices today," Rivera said. "Without DeAngelo, you'd have Jonathan, Mike Tolbert and
It's also a wait-and-see situation at cornerback. Rivera said that
"You want to give guys something other than just having them sit there saying, ‘Well, I'm a backup,' " Rivera said. "We haven't decided on the combinations or rotations. We are going to play the guys that have had the best week. We're going to talk about it, watch the tape and make our decisions as we go forward.
"Ever since Drayton Florence got back and has gotten his opportunity, he's made a difference. He has his role and knows his role. He's doing a great job and showing these young guys how to do things. Melvin White has been outstanding. He's gotten opportunities and has taken advantage. Josh Thomas did a great job last week when he got an opportunity. Josh Norman has been working hard. He's going to get a chance as well. We'll see what happens."
"I'm not concerned about Steve at all," Rivera said.