Remmers ready to help hurting offensive line

CHARLOTTE – With about two hours of warning, offensive lineman Mike Remmers quickly packed and headed to the St. Louis airport after becoming the latest addition to the Panthers roster.

With about two days of warning, Remmers could find himself playing for the Panthers in primetime.

"It's a crazy life, but I wouldn't change anything," said Remmers, signed Tuesday off the Rams practice squad. "I want to get on the field and try to make a difference and help a team out."

Depending on how the Panthers' plethora of injuries along the offensive front pans out, Remmers could get that opportunity when Carolina hosts the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night. Remmers gives the Panthers a fourth offensive tackle on the active roster for the first time since Week 3, and he could provide more than depth if starting tackles Byron Bell (knee) and Nate Chandler (thigh) can't play.

Bell didn't practice Tuesday, and Chandler was limited.

"We'll see how things unfold tomorrow, but Mike might have to be ready to play," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He did a nice job today, came in and took some reps and was in meetings.

"We've got a plan just in case, and we'll see how everyone is tomorrow."

Plan A involves having Bell and Chandler healthy enough to play – certainly a possibility – but Plan B isn't as clear-cut. Undrafted rookie David Foucault played extensively versus Seattle last week, and guard Chris Scott has also taken snaps at tackle in practice.

"We're working a bunch of combinations," Rivera said. "We've just got to keep it fluid."

Remmers also took some snaps Tuesday at guard with starters Amini Silatolu (calf) and Trai Turner (knee) expected to be out again this week. Even so, there's some sense of stability there, with veteran Fernando Velasco and quickly developing rookie Andrew Norwell again slated to start.

Stability would be something new for Remmers, who is with his sixth NFL team since being signed as an undrafted rookie by the Denver Broncos in 2012. Remmers was injured on his fourth NFL snap last season, suffering an ankle injury in his NFL debut with the San Diego Chargers in Week 7.

"That was pretty unfortunate. It was a freak accident, and I was rehabbing that all of last year," said Remmers, who is healthy now and knows to be prepared at a moment's notice. "I can play guard or tackle - left or right - and I try to practice at center as much as I can but haven't actually played there in a game. Today I was all over the place, and that's fine with me. I just want to get reps wherever I can.

"It's just a matter of getting terminology down. There are only so many ways you can run and pass the ball. I've just got to study a lot. That's what I'll be doing tonight and tomorrow."

Rivera and his coaching staff will be studying all their options as well, a process that doesn't leave time for second-guessing when it comes to the decisions made in the offseason regarding the tackle spot.

"Hindsight is easy in this case, but we felt good coming out of camp, and I thought it showed early on," Rivera said. "We felt good about Byron coming in, and he has played well for us. He tried to play through an injury last week, and it was tough on him. Nate is growing and developing. He's played well.

"We felt very good about Garry Williams as the primary backup, but Garry got hurt first (and is now on injured reserve). We liked what we saw in David Foucault, but we thought he was a guy that was going to have time to develop and then later down the line get an opportunity to play, but he's been pressed into service. He's done a nice job.

"We had a couple of tough games, obviously, but if we can keep everybody healthy and get everybody back, we have a chance."

That's exactly how Chandler and his fellow linemen feel.

"With the guys we have, we feel like we can face any front," he said. "We have a great group of guys, and whatever anyone else says, there's no place for that in our heads because we know we're a good group. That's what we're going to prove."

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