There's not a lot to work with for DBs coach Steve Wilks at this point.
His healthiest guys have been the ones who haven't been on the field -
outside of Captain Munnerlyn, his starting secondary from week 1 is
Charles Godfrey was finally playing the level of football expected of
him before being done for the year - and maybe done here in Carolina
anyway - after breaking up a touchdown against Buffalo. Replacement
starter Quintin Mikell, potentially a massive upgrade, was in an air
cast with an ankle injury, again injured after making a play. Starting
CB Josh Thomas injured himself on a great tackle that, of course, gave
him a concussion. Concussion protocol would seem to suggest he'll be
best off missing this game.
Next-off-the-bench Josh Norman - or however you'd currently signify a
nickel corner that doesn't actually play the role of slot CB - had some
time off the field, enough to get 4th CB DJ More hurt for a bit as well.
Now, it appears, Moore is a candidate to move to S, Norman might get
rewarded with his last-play gaffe with a starting assignment, and Melvin
White might somehow be the 3rd CB. Another option is keeping Moore at
CB and throwing Colin Jones in at FS, where he's rarely played, much
less made all the defensive calls.
Other options include signing released CB Drayton Florence, who started
most of preseason and ended up being cut, and S Haruki Nakamura, who
started in 2011 to disastrous results.
It's a less than ideal situation for a team already in a big hole at
0-2. The secondary didn't start the season as a strength and missing
out on Godfrey for the rest of the year severely limits their cover 3,
cover 1/cover 1 Robber and man type sets. It's possible that they can
get by with Norman doing more press with some help over top, and luckily
Thomas will return at some point; however it's nearly impossible to
really resolve FS at this point in a positive manner and without Mikell
for a while, Mike Mitchell will remain likely to have a handful of plays
being out of position and he'll always have that chance of a personal
foul at the worst time.
So, outside of doing something crazy with the glut of LBs - and no, I
don't think it's ideal to have Thomas Davis playing SS right now - or
creating some amazing new defense that allows the team to do something
crazy like play Davis at SS, I don't know what the solution will be that
would somehow make this defense be as good as it could've been.
Oddly enough, it does appear the team breached the idea of Davis at SS.
With inactives being as they are, they had a plan that included pushing
Davis to SS for emergency purposes, and Armond Smith at CB (Smith
would've been worth so many penalties at CB). James Dockery and rookie
Melvin White are options for next game, but neither were active last
week. There's the chance that they bring up rookie Robert Lester from
the practice squad, though that doesn't solve the issue at FS.
So, with bad news all around, Carolina didn't need to limp away from a
Buffalo loss with one healthy defensive back, and yet that's exactly
what they received.