WEDNESDAY NOTES: Otah has a concussion, his status questionable for Sunday
Written by Steve Reed
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 18:03
Jeff Otah could miss Sunday's game with a concussion. (AP Photo)
CHARLOTTE – Carolina Panthers right tackle Jeff Otah sat out practice Wednesday with a concussion and his status for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers is up in the air.
Otah got hit in the head in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to Arizona on the same play as Cam Newton’s interception.
Under new standards sent out by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell teams are required to remove any player from the game who’s showing any signs of a potential concussion. However, Otah played the remainder of the game and didn’t tell trainers about the incident until he started feeling ill on Monday.
“We didn’t know about it,” Rivera said. “He played right through it apparently. We went back and as you watch the tape you see it. It’s as clear as day.”
Otah was sent home Wednesday to rest.
Rivera said the team will reevaluate Otah on Friday and that undrafted rookie Byron Bell will start against the Packers if Otah isn’t cleared to play. Bell spelled Otah for a few possessions during Sunday’s game against Arizona.
Otah has played in 26 games during his career and missed 23 due to injury.
DAVIS LEARNING FAST: Thomas Davis said he’s already a much better football player for having played under Rivera.
Rivera, of course, played linebacker for the Bears for nine seasons and Davis said he brings a unique insight to the game.
“Coach Rivera does a great job of critiquing me with him having played the position in the league,” Davis said. “He knows what to expect and what it takes to be great. I’m trying to feed off him.
“He’s pretty much been talking about the little things in my game, the miscues – making a wrong step or a wrong read – and not always relying on my speed to make up for certain things. That’s one of the things that we’ve been working on and trying to capitalize on trying to get that much closer to the ball without always having to rely on speed.”
Davis was limited in practice Wednesday with a groin injury.
Wide receiver Kealoha Pilares and cornerback Josh Thomas returned to practice after missing last week.
WELLS A CAPABLE BACKUP: Recently added offensive lineman Reggie Wells brings a wealth of experience to the Panthers having started 91 games during his NFL career.
However, it’s pretty clear Wells will be a backup in Carolina behind starting guards Travelle Wharton and Geoff Hangartner.
But don’t tell Wells that.
“I think at this point it’s just a matter of getting acclimated,” Wells said. “I assume I’m not being brought in to hold a card or wear a practice jersey the whole time. I’m coming out here to come in with that mentality and I think they want somebody like that. You can’t come in and label yourself a backup because then you’re not ready when your time comes.”
FIELDS AT NOSE: The Panthers view Ron Fields as a nose tackle, a space-filler up front.
“Over the course of my career I’ve been counted on to stop the run and rush the passer from time to time,” Fields said. “I think that will be a good fit for this team and where they’re trying to go. And hopefully I can help these young guys out.”