CHARLOTTE – The Panthers will be without center Ryan Kalil for the second consecutive game, but this time they had more time to prepare for the five-time Pro Bowler's absence.
Tyler Larsen will again get the start after Kalil (neck) didn't practice all week. Larsen was prepared to step in last Sunday against the Bills when Kalil complained of soreness hours before the game, but Larsen should be doubly prepared after taking first-team snaps in practice this week leading up to the Saints' visit Sunday.
"The reps that he got, that's always a good thing," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It helps him develop a comfort level with the quarterback, and the quarterback gets comfortable with him. It also helps the guards get used to hearing the line calls from him. That stuff is important."
Rivera is optimistic about Kalil's eventual return but is staying away from offering a timetable. Rivera said Greg Van Roten, a surprise selection for the 53-man roster, will be active and serve as Larsen's backup. Last week, Kalil was active and ready to give it a go in an emergency situation.
"The biggest thing is being able to do the stuff that you need to do," Rivera said of Kalil's week spent inside Bank of America Stadium. "Going outside for two-and-a-half hours, there's nothing productive that he can do out there yet. So they kept him in and he's been working with the strength and conditioning guys, working with the training staff."
Linebacker Jeremy Cash (calf) will miss his second consecutive game. Quarterback Cam Newton officially is listed as questionable but is good to go, listed only because he was limited by design in practice all week to rest his throwing shoulder and his ankle after twisting it against the Bills.
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against the Saints.