CHARLOTTE – Members of the Panthers offensive line hear what's said about them.
"When people say that we're the weakest link and stuff, it kind of gets old," right tackle Nate Chandler said.
That's a source of motivation. But a much bigger source came in the form of head coach Ron Rivera when he issued a challenge to the offensive line last week.
"When the head coach comes in and tells us we need to be more physical," left tackle Byron Bell said, "we take it to heart."
And they took it to the field.
"Coach Rivera let it be known, and we responded," Bell said.
Rivera credited the offensive line for setting the tempo for the entire team during practice last week.
"We just had an attitude about ourselves," Chandler explained.
That attitude carried into the Panthers' Week 6 game against the Bengals, and the statistics told the story of their success. Carolina didn't allow a sack for the first time this season, and the Panthers compiled a season-high 147 rushing yards.
"That's big-time for us," Bell said.
Added Chandler: "We were all on the same page. As a group, we just came together and honed in on what we had to do in the run game and protecting Cam. We tried to be as physical as we could, and I feel like it paid off.
"You turn the film on, and it was contagious how the offense played."
Now, after an impressive, tone-setting performance in Cincinnati, the challenge for Carolina's offensive line is to continue playing at that level this week against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
The unit will likely be without starting left guard Amini Silatolu, who suffered a calf strain against the Bengals and missed practice Wednesday. But Fernando Velasco has proven he's more than capable of stepping for Silatolu, as he did last week.
"Each and every game we are still learning as a unit. It is not going to be perfect out there," Bell said.
But bringing the same attitude they played with in Cincinnati to Green Bay is a good place to start.
"The tone is set," Bell said. "Now we have to keep it there."