CHARLOTTE – A week ago, the Broncos had to play without an actual quarterback, with all of theirs on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Panthers' situation hasn't reached that point yet, but they could be extremely short-handed at a few positions, at least for the next few days.
Wide receivers DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel were among the eight players placed on the list Monday as the team came back from the bye. Also given that designation were defensive tackles Derrick Brown and Zach Kerr, linebacker Shaq Thompson, tackle Greg Little, and punter Michael Palardy (who is on injured reserve), while wide receiver Ishmael Hyman will go on practice squad/COVID-19.
In addition to last week's additions of defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and practice squad defensive tackle Bruce Hector, that gives the Panthers 10 players hitting COVID-19 lists in the last week.
Teams may not disclose whether a player has tested positive for COVID-19 or whether he is quarantining because of close exposure to someone who has tested positive, and the difference will determine how much time players could miss.
If their absences are protracted, the Panthers would be extremely thin at a few positions heading into Sunday's home game with the Broncos.
Taking away Moore and Samuel would subtract 36.5 percent of the team's receptions (Moore has 50 and Samuel 54 of the team's 285), 46.2 percent of their receiving yards (Moore 924, Samuel 517, team 3,120), and 46.7 percent of their receiving touchdowns (Moore four, Samuel three, team 15).
Their absence would leave the Panthers with Robby Anderson, Brandon Zylstra, and Pharoh Cooper as wideouts on the active roster. Zylstra and Cooper have combined for three catches for 44 yards this season. The Panthers also have Shelton Gibson and Marken Michel on the practice squad.
Of course, the Panthers are expected to get running back Christian McCaffrey back this week, which should help spread out the offensive load. Backup Mike Davis has 52 receptions this year, showing he's able to be a key part of the passing game.
Depending on the length of their stays on the COVID-19 list, the Panthers could be thin on the defensive line as well, with rookie Bravvion Roy the only defensive tackle on the 53-man roster at the moment.