CHARLOTTE — Not only will the Panthers make the first change of the season on the offensive line this week, but they could also be using that lineup for some time.
The Panthers placed starting center Pat Elflein on injured reserve Saturday. He was on the injury report with a hip issue and didn't practice this week, but he was initially listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Elflein and the rest of the offensive line had played every snap of the first six games this season.
He'll be replaced in the starting lineup by Bradley Bozeman this week.
Bozeman signed here this offseason after four years with the Ravens. He started 48 games over the last three seasons for Baltimore, and provides a bigger and stronger alternative in the middle.
He was competing for the starting job in training camp anyway, and the competition was close. But he suffered an ankle injury during joint practices with the Patriots in August, which allowed Elflein to maintain the job.
Also Saturday, the Panthers activated defensive tackle Bravvion Roy to the 53-man roster.
He was designated to return from IR Wednesday and practiced this week, and provides some more needed experience in the middle.
With defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis (concussion protocol) doubtful to play this week, Roy could play a key role. He had 17 starts over the previous two seasons and played in a reserve role the first two weeks of this year.
The Panthers also waived defensive tackle Phil Hoskins from the 53-man roster, and elevated quarterback Jacob Eason and cornerback Tae Hayes from the practice squad, offering depth at a few key positions for Sunday.
Eason is expected to back up PJ Walker again, and Hayes was elevated last week and ended up as one of the only two healthy corners to end the game against the Rams.
Carolina is 25-19 all-time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, posting a 13-10 record at home and 12-9 on the road.