NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Perhaps this is the week for Eli Manning to get back on track.
The Carolina Panthers have some major injury concerns in the secondary as they prepare to host Manning and the New York Giants on Sunday in a game crucial for both 0-2 teams.
Carolina lost starting free safety Charles Godfrey over the weekend to a torn Achilles tendon and five other defensive backs missed all or part of practice this week, including starting cornerback Josh Thomas (concussion).
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the injuries are “concerning” considered Manning’s talent and experience at picking apart defenses.
Cornerback Drayton Florence, who re-signed with Carolina on Thursday, could be pressed into a starting role.
“The concern is not only if everyone is going to be cleared, but if they’re going to be 100 percent,” Rivera said. “As we look at it, a concussion is scary thing and a cornerback with a deep thigh bruise is a scary thing. We had to take a lot of things into account and we think (signing Florence) was a prudent move. … We were down to two healthy cornerbacks.”
Although both Thomas and Josh Norman (thigh bruise) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday, there is still plenty of concern over their status for Sunday.
Two other Carolina cornerbacks — DJ Moore (knee) and James Dockery (hand) — did not practice Thursday.
Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott knows his secondary will have its hands full with Manning, even though the two-time Super Bowl MVP has struggled with seven interceptions in two games.
McDermott said the Panthers will rely on their strength on defense — their front seven — to pressure Manning into mistakes.
“They have to be special for us,” McDermott said. “That’s what we’ve talked about …read more
Source: CBS local New York