Good problem to have: As the O-line gets healthier, where does everyone fit?


CHARLOTTE – Trai Turner, how do you feel the offensive line has played in your absence?

"This O-line has busted they (expletive)," Turner said.

That pretty much sums it up.

Turner, the Pro Bowl right guard, has been out since Week 3 with an ankle injury. That led to Daryl Williams, who started the season at left tackle, shifting over to right guard. Second-round pick Greg Little was first up at left tackle and he performed well against Houston before going back in the concussion protocol. As a result, sixth-round pick Dennis Daley, stepped in at left tackle each of the past two games. In Daley's last outing, he was the top graded offensive tackle in the league via Pro Football Focus.

And as well know, the Panthers are on a four-game win streak despite all the movement along the O-line.

"We have done it with a lot of different combinations of guys up front. That gives you a lot of confidence," left guard Greg Van Roten said. "It shows we have depth and we can play well."

Added Turner: "Hats off the guys and to the coaches. The guys have been prepared week in and week out. Not to say I'm surprised, but it's good to see."

Little remains in the protocol and was not at practice Wednesday, but with Turner back at practice and nearing a return to the lineup, we're left to wonder what the O-line is going to like when it's at full strength again, or close to it.

"You move guys around," head coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday. "Having a guy back doesn't mean it's going to cut time for somebody else as much as it is, we have to figure out how to share time. We've got a good group of guys, guys that are playing well. We want to make sure we continue that."

The Panthers certainly have options with several linemen offering position flexibility. And several guys who started the season as backups have earned the right to be out there.

"Some teams don't have five," Turner said. "So to have multiple guys that can go out there is a big blessing."

Does Carolina continue with one of the rookies at left tackle? Where does Williams fit in once Turner is back in the starting lineup? What happens when Little clears the protocol?

Problem is there's only room for five starters.

"That's a good problem to have," Van Roten said. "A lot of teams across the league would be happy to have that problem."