Silatolu gives tackle the old college try

CHARLOTTE – Amini Silatolu hasn't played tackle since college and hasn't played right tackle in his life, but Silatolu is confident he can get the job done if called upon.

"I'm excited," Silatolu said. "The offensive line is banged up, so it's up to the next person to step up. That's just the way it is."

Head coach Ron Rivera isn't ready to say if Silatolu – usually the Panthers' starting left guard – will be the choice to replace Nate Chandler at right tackle Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings. Chandler was placed on injured reserve last week with a knee injury.

Rivera said Silatolu and fellow guard Chris Scott, as well as tackles Mike Remmers and David Foucault, are under consideration.

"It's a work in progress," Rivera said. "We'll take a look at the tape and talk about it and then limit it to probably two guys."

Silatolu is an intriguing option because he played left tackle throughout college before the Panthers selected him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Rivera said Silatolu has a good punch that could serve him well at tackle but that the aggressiveness he features at guard would qualify as over-aggressive at tackle.

Silatolu doesn't seem too concerned about the possible transition from guard to tackle. He's more concerned about moving from the left to the right side.

"I've been playing some left tackle in practice the last couple of weeks. It's just about transferring it to the right," Silatolu said. "It's the footwork. I need reps as the week goes on to try to get better."

FRESH LOOK: On the practice field Monday, the positive effects of the bye week were on full display.

"I feel like we're ready. We came out and had a good practice today off the bye week," wide receiver Philly Brown said. "Everybody was moving so much faster at practice today. It looked like the first day at camp."

Rivera said the Panthers were energetic and focused at practice. "So far, so good," he said

In other words, the Panthers need to transfer what they're doing in practice to game day.

"We're fresher than we've been the last seven or eight weeks," safety Thomas DeCoud said. "Now we've got to hit the ground rolling and build some momentum."

STAR SIDELINED: The Panthers won't release their first injury report until Wednesday, but Rivera provided a preview.

Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (ankle) and guard Andrew Norwell (leg) didn't practice, but cornerback Bene Benwikere – who has missed the last six games with an ankle injury – did.

"Bene was in there from the beginning. I feel confident about Bene," Rivera said. "Star warmed up and then did his stuff on the side. Same thing with Andrew Norwell. We'll see how they are on Wednesday."

While Norwell's injury surfaced after the Panthers' last game, Lotulelei missed the last game and could miss another one.

"I'm not sure," Lotulelei said. "I'm going to keep working, see how it feels later in the week, and then we'll go from there."

GRABBING EVERYONE'S ATTENTION: Many were still buzzing Monday about Sunday night's three-fingered catch by New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., a grab that some are saying is the best they've ever seen.

Panthers rookie guard Trai Turner, who was teammates with Beckham at LSU, said it wasn't even the best catch he's seen Beckham make.

"In the (2014) Outback Bowl, he had a one-finger catch," Turner said. "He's just that kind of guy. There aren't too many of them."

Another rookie known for his acrobatic catches, Kelvin Benjamin, was impressed.

"It was great. On a scale of one to 10, I'd say about a nine," Benjamin said.

What would it take for it to be a 10?

"I don't know," Benjamin said. "Catch it without looking?"

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