CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have travel contingency plans in place, as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas.
Head Coach Ron Rivera did not go into detail about those plans, but he did indicate that the team could head to Atlanta earlier than normal, and that the team could end up busing to Georgia, if flying was ruled too risky.
Other notes from the Panthers on Thursday.
SPREAD OUT THE CARRIES
Offensively, the Panthers attempted 32 running plays against Dallas. The breakdown of carries looks like this: Cam Newton 13, Christian McCaffrey 10, CJ Anderson 7, DJ Moore 1, Alex Armah 1.
In this instance, the quarterback has the most carries, but that isn’t necessarily by design.
“There were four or five called runs for me, that Cam kept because of the read,” McCaffrey told reporters Thursday. “You look at what he can do with his feet, and that’s part of the reason why some of those runs are so successful. That’s just the way our offense works.”
Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner indicated he wouldn’t mind seeing Newton’s carries reduced a little, in order for McCaffrey or Anderson to get a few more touches, however Turner doesn’t feel that Sunday’s performance against Dallas was a true indicator of how often Newton was actually running the ball.
“I was surprised by the number, but then you realize three of them were taking a knee at the end game,” Turner said Thursday. “It’s a week-to-week. I thought we had a good rhythm between CJ and Christian, and we have to get five or six of those carries that Cam had, and let CJ and Christian get, and we’ll be a little more in line.”
McCaffrey finished Sunday’s game with 19 total touches against Dallas.
RESPECTING THE ATLANTA OFFENSE
Panthers fans remember the 503 passing yards put up by Matt Ryan back in 2016 (300 of those belonging to Julio Jones), and with that combo still wearing Atlanta colors, the chance for an offensive explosion exists whenever they are on the field.
The Panthers will trot out rookie cornerback Donte Jackson to try and defend against that aerial assault, but linebacker Luke Kuechly is hoping that the Carolina offense will be able to play a more substantial role on Sunday.
Not by scoring points, but by controlling the time of possession.
“The easiest place to play defense is when you’re sitting on the sideline and the offense has the ball,” Kuechly said Thursday. “Those guys do a great job of controlling the ball during the game, and letting us rest and relax and get comfortable. But when it’s our time to get out there, we have to make sure we’re on our game, because those guys can score from anywhere.”
OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLE CONTINUES
The signing of tackle Chris Clark has given Rivera some options at the tackle spots for Sunday. One possibility is for Taylor Moton to stay at the left tackle spot, and have Clark potentially move to the right side. Another would be to flip the duo, with Moton going to the right side, and Clark heading to the left.
Rivera is not tipping his hand, saying that they likely won’t have an answer on the starting offensive line group until after Friday’s practice, however, he did indicate that Clark would be more of a “plug and play” left tackle.
“He is more of a left-handed player. That’s been the primary position he’s played,” Rivera said.
As for if Clark could be on the field, Rivera feels the 11-year veteran has some things to firm up before the trip to Atlanta.
“He’s gotta learn our language (referring to the offensive play book terminology). That’s probably the hardest thing,” Rivera said. “(He needs to) Be able to connect the dots, in terms of what we call things, and what he’s done before in the past.”
MOVING ON WITHOUT OLSEN
Tight end Greg Olsen will be lost for the next several weeks after suffering a right foot fracture, and while it appears rookie Ian Thomas will get a bulk of the workload in Olsen's absence, Rivera pointed out the Chris Manhertz and Alex Armah would see snaps at the tight end position as well.
"It's not necessarily one player, I'll tell you that right now," Rivera said. "I do think Ian has the kind of make up that you look for in an every-down tight end. A guy that could take over a position eventually, but he's got a ways to go, he really does."
THURSDAY INJURY LIST
Did Not Practice: WR Damiere Byrd (knee), WR Curtis Samuel (medical issue), TE Greg Olsen (foot), G Trai Turner (concussion)
Full Participation: RB CJ Anderson (illness), DT Vernon Butler (shoulder), S Colin Jones (knee), LB Luke Kuechly (knee), S Da'Norris Searcy (chest)