Grill Bill: What now on the offensive line? 

Carolina Panthers offensive guard Amini Silatolu (65) lines up on the line of scrimmage during an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C. Carolina won 27-17. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

@SlimDownDadBod Who is on Marty's radar as far as O-line reinforcements? Are they already on the roster, or is a potential free agent signing looming?

I'm sure Marty Hurney would echo what all front office personnel would say when asked about something like that on the record: "We're always looking to make our football team better."

But here's what Ron Rivera said Tuesday before tests showed a torn meniscus in Amini Silatolu's left knee – the second offensive line "starter" lost this camp: "If they come back with bad news (on Silatolu), obviously we'll be concerned."

So what now?

Let's be honest, losing Silatolu for a few weeks isn't going to make or break the season. You can find guards, and the Panthers at least have a few options already on the roster.

The more significant concern remains at tackle.

With Daryl Williams out indefinitely, the depth behind Matt Kalil and Taylor Moton is not good. So despite losing Silatolu, tackle is where they need reinforcements. You can bet they're currently looking, but it may be a situation where final cuts present the best option(s).


@TheWhiteRozay Does Tyler Larsen have experience at guard? Should we give him a look over Sirles?

All 15 of Larsen's starts the past two seasons have come at center, but he's certainly capable of playing guard. There's an added issue this preseason, though, because the Panthers understandably want to be cautious with Ryan Kalil. That makes Larsen needed at center.

It's still unclear who will be at left guard first in Buffalo. Ron Rivera indicated it'll be undrafted rookie Brendan Mahon, but they may lean toward fourth-year lineman Greg Van Roten. Either way, there's a chance either could grab the job and never let go. But Larsen is surely an option. Jeremiah Sirles is also in the mix, as is undrafted rookie Taylor Hearn. So as I mentioned above, the cupboard isn't bare at guard.


@akillesheel17 Is Dorian Johnson practicing? If so, with whom, and has he been notable at all? Haven't seen his name once this camp, and remember that he had some medical issues to work though.

He's had a quiet camp, but he's not off the radar. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Johnson was a fourth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2017, so he has potential.

Johnson has mostly seen time at guard, but he took a few reps at tackle a few days ago, and he could see more in the next couple of weeks as the Panthers turn over every stone looking for solutions there.


Website submission from Sam in Kinston, N.C.: Did guys need to get their self in shape seem like every year non-contact someone going out hurt with this and that I played my year in the 80s high school and college bowl without a broken bone anything on ACL the guy's not in shape they need to get their self and shake and get off them video games

Cool story.


Website submission from Daniel in San Diego, Calif.: Hey Bill, I'm a sailor from San Diego, so I miss a lot from camp. Have Norv Turner and Co. been working on Cam Newton's footwork at camp?

Perhaps it's my untrained eye, but I haven't seen drills where that's been the focus.

Which leads to …


@KEEP_P0UND1NG How is Norv Turner making Cam Newton a more accurate passer? What are some examples of how he is training Cam? #65-70% #Darts

At 29 and now eight years into his career, Newton probably just is what he is mechanically. There likely isn't a magic drill that's going to make him have perfect footwork, etc. when the bullets start flying on game days. The plan they've had to improve Newton's accuracy, I believe, has had more to do with the players around him.

Starting with the first interview he did after coming to Carolina in January, Turner hasn't publicly nitpicked Newton's mechanics. Instead, he immediately began stressing the need to improve his weapons. Do that, and perhaps Newton will finally be convinced that he doesn't have to make big plays as often as he's had to since 2011.

So the Panthers upgraded the receiving corps and brought in C.J. Anderson, who's better catching passes out of the backfield than Jonathan Stewart. Those additions, plus a focus on getting the ball out quicker, is a more realistic path to upping Newton's accuracy than hoping he'll suddenly have perfect mechanics.


Website submission from Jim in Waxhaw, N.C.: Are you hitting the Anchor Bar while in Buffalo? Best chicken wings in the world! Also the origin of what we call "Buffalo Wings" for those of us not from Buffalo.

Went there when the Panthers were last here in the 2015 preseason. Good stuff. Saw former offensive lineman Chris Scott getting his pregame meal there, too.

But last night, we made a last-minute audible when we found out Buffalo now has a Dinosaur BBQ. Which as anyone who's spent any amount of time in Syracuse knows is better than any wing joint.


Website submission from Brandon in Cedar Falls, Iowa: How's Corn Elder been looking through camp? Haven't heard much about him. What amount of playing time, if any, are you thinking he might see? Thanks!

The good news is Elder hasn't missed a practice or even been limited since the spring. But as is always the fear with someone who missed a full season, he doesn't appear to be moving as well as he did before his knee injury. A roster spot isn't guaranteed, so preseason games will be big for him.


@venividivinoo With Marquis Hayes making noise at Training Camp, how do you see the DE rotation unfolding? Will Daeshon Hall have a large roll or so you see a Hall/Haynes equal timeshare behind Edwards/Pep/Horton?

Hall is another 2017 pick who's not guaranteed a roster spot. Unlike Elder, he's missed some time during camp with the knee injury that kept him out most of last season. So like Elder, the preseason is huge.

Bryan Cox Jr., another second-year option at defensive end, had a late start to camp with an ankle injury, so it's still too early to call who will occupy the backend of the rotation. But we do know one thing: Haynes has been impressive.


Website submission from Simon in Kannapolis, N.C.: Would you rather race Donte Jackson or wrestle Dontari Poe?

C'mon, that's easy. I'll take door No. 1 and get smoked – while at least keeping some of my dignity.

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