Panthers Bell, Chandler battle it out for LT spot
Posted July 28
Protecting the quarterback’s blindside isn’t a problem the Carolina Panthers have had to deal with for the better part of this century. But with former Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross retiring, head coach Ron Rivera will turn to either offensive lineman Byron Bell or Nate Chandler to fill that all-important left tackle position.
“I’ve seen guys learning a new position which is hard,” said Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. “I’ve said all the time it’s hard to play one position but to play a whole ‘nother position and to actually excel and to learn is a big deal. That’s inspirational.”
The six-foot five, three-hundred and forty pound Bell may hold the edge, naturally left-handed the swamp may suit the southpaw whose held down right tackle for the previous three seasons.
“One day this team could look at me as a franchise left tackle but at the end of the day, in my opinion, it’s about winning ballgames,” said Bell. “The fans want to win, we want to win, Mr. Richardson wants to win, Coach Rivera wants to win, Mr. Gettleman wants to win, I want to win so if it’s right tackle that helps the team win so be it, if it’s left tackle that helps the team win so be it. If it’s playing guard so be it, if I actually don’t play so be it.”
However Chandler appears to be Carolina’s chameleon. He started at tight end in college then transitioned to defensive tackle, offensive guard and now tackle almost seamlessly.
“It says a lot about his character and who he is, that’s not an easy thing. To come start as a tight end and go to the D-line in the NFL to offensive line,” said Panthers center Ryan Kalil.
For now they alternate, all sides hoping a final decision comes sooner rather than later.
“I believe that continuity is a big deal on the O-line so I think the dust will settle here soon and they’ll pick one,” said Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross. “The Panthers need to decide which guys going in which spot and then let that continuity build.”