CHARLOTTE – Head coach Ron Rivera is "building confidence" that right tackle Daryl Williams and versatile offensive lineman Amini Silatolu could play in Sunday's season opener against the Cowboys, but it could be a game-time decision.
Both are listed as questionable for the game, along with tight end Chris Manhertz. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel (medical illness) is out, as Rivera shared earlier in the week.
"I'm building confidence in them. It's one of those things if you had another day to practice and really, truly be able stress them the way you'd want to, you could tell a lot," Rivera said. "They came in today pretty good, and the last couple of days we've been able to increase their workload and have them take the reps that have been set up for them. That's been outstanding. Each day we get a little bit more, so we'll see. Tomorrow will be the final walkthrough, and we'll see how they are."
Both suffered knee injuries during training camp. If Williams is available he'll start at right tackle. If Silatolu is available, he might start at left guard, though Greg Van Roten has established himself there during Silatolu's absence.
"Greg has been very consistent, and we look for guys to be consistent," Rivera said. "Now Amini was doing a heck of a job before the injury.
"There aren't many spots on this team that are on lockdown."
Williams, projected starting left tackle Taylor Moton and Corey Robinson are the three players on the 53-man roster listed as tackles, though Silatolu can slide outside as well. The Panthers traded for Robinson on cutdown day last Saturday, and he practiced with the team for the first time Sunday.
"He's pretty much up to speed, has done a really good job. I'm really excited about his potential for us as far as helping us out as a football team," Rivera said. "We'll see how it unfolds; there's a lot of things that will play into the decision as to which of our offensive linemen will be up and which will be down."