Injury to insult, Carolina Panthers offense has big challenges ahead

It did not take long for the promise of a new and improved Carolina Panthers offense to lose its luster. In fact, it took less than three weeks. The Panthers were already dealing with correcting one of the worst red zone performing offenses in the league. Now it appears they also have a few key injuries to also overcome.

After being sacked six times and knocked down one additional time against the Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton is now hampered by a twisted ankle on top of his already sore shoulder. Ron Rivera admitted to Cam’s shoulder being the primary concern at this point, so much so that it is limiting his practice time.

“Rest is probably the best thing, as someone said last week, ‘This is the new normal for him.”” Rivera told the media.

Newton has not exactly looked like his former MVP self this season, far from it. Missing time to develop a chemistry with his new weapons is a significant setback. Especially important now with Greg Olsen on IR. Olsen has been Newton’s safety valve since 2011. For the first time, Cam will be missing his pro bowl tight end for an extended period. Not exactly an ideal situation.

carolina panthers greg olsen

Then there is the question of Ryan Kalil, who missed the Buffalo Bills game with a sore neck. Rivera stated today that there is “some concern” with Kalil’s status for the game. While Tyler Larsen is an adequate backup physically, he just does not have the experience yet to fully replace Kalil. The entire offensive line as a unit degrades when Ryan Kalil is not on the field. That point was made painfully obvious last week.

So, here we are. The good news is that the Carolina Panthers face the worst defense in the league on Sunday. This may be the only saving grace that allows the Panthers to remain undefeated. But with New England quickly approaching on the calendar, time may be running out on getting the Panthers offense executing efficiently.

Big challenges ahead, folks. Buckle up. It may get rough.

Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.

Jeremy Igo is owner of Carolina Huddle. Based in Charlotte, he has covered the Carolina Panthers for over a decade.