During his Friday press conference, Carolina Panthers’ head coach Frank Reich announced that starting safety and defensive signal-caller, Vonn Bell, will not play when the team travels to Miami for their week-six match up against the Dolphins.
Bell injured his quad during practice Thursday.
It’s tough news for a secondary group that’s already missing fellow starter Xavier Woods.
Sam Franklin, who has been starting in Woods’ absence, will continue to fill that role and eight-year veteran Matthias Farley will start for Vonn Bell. Rookie Jammie Robinson will also see increased playing time.
“I’m excited for the guys who are going to get to play,” Reich said Friday. “Obviously it’s a big challenge. Nobody’s looking to feel sorry for us. That’s what you get paid to do and you go down there and play it out.”
“These are great opportunities,” he continued. “An opportunity to make a statement about who we are as a team and a great opportunity for the guys stepping in, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Reich won’t be the only one looking forward to it. Miami has one of the most explosive offenses in the National Football League. Expect Mike McDaniel and company to test Carolina’s depleted secondary from the start until finish.
In addition to Bell, starting running back Myles Sanders will also be out. Chuba Hubbard will get the start and Raheem Blackshear, who has been a healthy scratch the past few weeks, will get the bulk of the carries. The Panthers may also elevate former All-Pro Tarik Cohen for depth.
In more positive news, corner back Donte Jackson has been a full participant in practice all week and is expected to play.
Brian Burns (ankle) and Derrick Brown (ankle/knee) are officially listed as questionable.
See Carolina’s full injury report and game-statuses below: