Carolina has done a solid job, despite somewhat a lack of depth at
times, of pulling a guy off the pile when needed. They quote last
year's 5 rookies playing on defense at one point, but you can't ignore
that Nate Chandler did a good job himself as a replacement on offense.
This year, so far, "next man up" is a philosophy of who's going to make
it to the 53 man roster in the event the team loses a guy that would
otherwise have been projected to play.
I have Tyler Gaffney as a definite, if my recent tirades haven't been
indicative of his absence. And today, Tre Boston was carted off, so
I'll talk about him as a possibility as well (this is his second injury
already, so who knows).
*For Gaffney, in principle, it leaves Kenjon Barner as a likely rostered
player, but barring him losing the KR job, he was projected anyway.
Gaffney, who I projected to play a lot of special teams, leaves open a
more interesting hole because of those special teams snaps.
I see that strengthening Richie Brockel's hold on a spot - and Brockel's
been tough to root out of a job anyway. Carolina would almost
certainly hold onto 4 TE now - Olsen, Dickson, Brockel, and a fight
between the rest (workout warrior Brandon Williams, blocking specialist
Mike McNeill, and DUI specialist DC Jefferson - who, despite internet
reports, is not the national director of Lambda Lambda Lambda, for those
of you paying attention). But, with the likelihood of only carrying
four backs, and Brockel somewhat counting as a fullback, you could sneak
an extra tight end on board (my guess would be Williams and McNeill -
Williams is raw but he'll play special teams).
Otherwise, that could be an extra WR; I expected them to keep 5. Or, it
could be an extra defender that plays special teams.
*Speaking of special teams, I don't know if Tre Boston will miss
significant time; I hope not.
But being carted off today, let's suggest it's possible. I had Carolina
holding five safeties, including him. I believe that, assuming they're
OK with Colin Jones playing backup FS (and it's been trending in that
direction), they would deal with just four. Certainly, that opens the
possibility of 5 CBs, which may be likely anyway; it wouldn't be the
worst to add a LB (I think they have their five, but don't have a 6th on
roster of worth- this extra LB is #7, so they definitely would need to
pickup a guy during cuts).
So, short answer, special teams for both. But, for now, room's
available to make a roster for those willing to work for it.