Shifting the Line
Yes, Travelle Wharton is back in Carolina. This could be great news, depending on his conditioning. Missing over a year of football can be a difficult thing to overcome. Ask Panthers current right guard Garry Williams. Williams was an exciting prospect before sitting the 2011 season with an injury. It has taken him over a year just to get back into playing shape and being able to compete for a starting position.
But lets assume Wharton is in prime football condition. Where do you put him?
In his previous stint in Carolina, he played mostly at left guard next to Jordan Gross. Putting him back in that same spot next to Gross would mean a quicker acclimation period. Gross and Wharton were very close as Panthers, even carpooling to practice together. You cannot overstate the importance of chemistry between a right tackle and right guard. I suspect the Wharton-Gross tandem could look solid again within a couple of weeks.
Putting Wharton on the left would shift Amini Silatolu over to the right guard position. Amini has always played on the left side, in college he was a left tackle. For a second year player, there will be a significant adjustment period going from left to right in the guard position.
Or do you put Wharton in the right guard position and allow continuity for Amini now that he seems to be coming into his own? Amini currently has an injured hamstring and won't be getting any playing time on Thursday. This decreases the chances of him being reads for a right guard start come week 1.