Notebook: Stephon Gilmore closer to bigger role

Stephon Gilmore

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers still haven't seen a 100 percent Stephon Gilmore, at least in terms of availability.

But they think they're closer to that day.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow said Friday that the veteran cornerback would play more this week against the Dolphins, and that they were approaching the time when he's an every-down player.

"Yeah, I think so," Snow replied when asked if Gilmore would get to full-time this season. "He's communicated real well with us, and there's a timetable of when I think he can go, and when he thinks. He's telling us. He knows his body; he's done it a long time.

"There's going to be a point this season where he's going to play all the time. I don't want to go into that right now. But when that happens, you'll recognize it. He's going to play more this week, and we'll see where it goes."

The 31-year-old Gilmore has been limited since he's joined the team in a midseason trade. Last year's quad injury has taken him some time to recover from, after missing all of the offseason program and training camp with the Patriots before he was dealt here.

He's played 83 snaps in four games with the Panthers, with the 37 snaps he played last week against Washington the most in any game. He's made some key plays (such as his late-game interception against the Falcons when he was shadowing tight end Kyle Pitts), but they haven't been able to unleash him for more than spot work yet.

Snow said he had confidence in their other corners, but is looking forward to seeing Gilmore playing at full capacity.

"Obviously, we'd love him on the field all the time," Snow said. "But I trust the other guys playing; they've put in a lot of hard work. We trust our players that play.

"If he's not in there, I feel good about the other guys being in there."

— Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said that Dennis Daley would start at left tackle this week.

Daley hasn't finished either of the last two games because of a glute injury, with rookie Brady Christensen replacing him each time. Daley has been a full participant in practice all this week, however.

With right guard John Miller doubtful because of an ankle injury, Rhule said Trent Scott would likely return to the starting lineup.

That would mean a rare repeat of their starting lineup from two weeks ago, but they've still had eight different combinations of starting linemen in the first 11 games.

During Scott's three weeks in the starting lineup, the Panthers allowed just one sack, and their two best rushing games of the year (203 against Atlanta and 166 at Arizona).

— Rhule said Miller's injury was a new one, even though he spent three weeks on IR with another ankle injury.

He said another player fell on Miller in practice Wednesday, but didn't give a timetable for when Miller could potentially return.

If he's unable to go, the Panthers would have just seven offensive linemen on the active roster, with Christensen and center Sam Tecklenburg the only reserves. That might require them to make a move Saturday. Rookie Deonte Brown is eligible to be activated after being designated to return from IR. They elevated guard Mike Horton from the practice squad in Week 10 to provide cover when Miller was out.

See photos from Wednesday's practice as the Panthers prepare to travel to Miami this weekend.

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