about the Panthers’ offensive line The story of the Carolina Panthers’ 2018 season could very well be the story of how healthy their offensive line is. We were prepared to talk about depth after the team let an all-pro offensive guard walk in free agency and then Color Rush Christian McCaffrey Jersey , wildly, did not address the position in the draft. However, injuries quickly ran rough shod over any other narrative as every projected starting offensive linemen with the Panthers has dealt with one issue or another this off season. Don’t worry, though, this column is about optimism and I’m here to tell you that everything might be just fine.The hits started back in 2017 when Ryan Kalil slept funny on his neck during week 2 and Trai Turner suffered a knee injury during an embarassing week 7 loss to the Bears. Both issues apparently lingered through OTAs this year. Then, both Amini Silatolu and Daryl Williams went down with knee injuries in training camp. Finally, Matt Kalil had his own knee injury followed by a small operation. Matt Kalil was the only one of the starting offensive linemen to end up on injured reserve. That is Youth DJ Moore Jersey , of course, if you don’t count Jeremiah Sirles, who looked like he might become the Panthers’ starting right tackle — following the injuries to Williams, Kalil, and Silatolu — before he went down with his own season ending hamstring injury.This all sounds like a whole mess of bad news, which it was. The offensive line is everything to how any offense runs and there just aren’t that many good lineman in the NFL. Whether or not you agree with former general manager Dave Gettleman’s decision to pay Matt Kalil $55 million is irrelevant. Matt Kalil was paid that much money because he might have been great and could reasonably have been good. The list of guys who fit that description as free agents last season had his name and his name alone on it. Keep in mind that the Vikings paid Mike Remmers $30 million and most Panthers’ fans were glad to be rid of him at the time. You pay what you have to for the players that actually exist. There is no summoning ‘quality veteran depth’ out of thin cap space.I promise the optimism is coming.Christian McCaffrey can’t run circles around all 11 defenders all by himself on every play, no matter how electric he has looked this off season. Cam Newton can’t chip a blitzing linebacker and throw a touchdown pass on every play. Newton’s health Color Rush Dontari Poe Jersey , too, is highly dependent on an offensive line that can provide him with even a few seconds of protection. As with offensive linemen, so to with quarterbacks: there is only so many guys with whom you can consistently win. Taylor Heinicke probably isn’t one of them. He is here because he knows our freshman offensive coordinator and because he can kind of run the way Cam does. In the way a Big Wheel runs the way a Ferrari does. There just aren’t many quarterbacks out there who could fit in this offense; who can pass and run; who have a consistent history of winning; who have starting experience in a Super Bowl. So you trade for or sign the Brett Hundleys and the DeShone Kizers and the Heinickes of the world and you roll the dice.Where’s the optimism? It’s in guys like Taylor Moton, the second year tackle who has looked both competent and confident playing both tackle spots in his preseason appearances so far. Right now there is every chance that Matt Kalil could come back from injury to find himself working as a very expensive back up instead of the franchise cornerstone he was drafted to be. The optimism is in guys like Brendan Mahon who went from being undrafted this year to making the Panthers roster at least as much for his play as for the number of injuries in front of him. He might be the metaphorical little brother to the last undrafted free agent guard success story. The Panthers’ can only hope that he will be half the Norwellian nightmare that his ‘big brother’ and predecessor was for the rest of the NFC South.The optimism is in Daryl Williams and Amini Silatolu both making the final 53-man roster because they were healthy enough to not go on injured reserve. The Panthers expect them back in short order and haven’t even ruled them out for week 1. The optimism, such as it is, is in guys like Corey Robinson existing at all. The Panthers gave up essentially nothing to get him, a conditional 7th round pick in next year’s draft. He wouldn’t have been available at that price if he was going to bulldoze lanes that McCaffrey could drive a truck through Youth Cam Newton Jersey , but he has actual starting experience as a right tackle. Finding that, this late in the season, is a rarity in today’s NFL.The Panthers’ have had their hands full this off season with the injuries on the offensive line and they’ve done as much as they could to address them. The return of Williams and Silatolu, while still not a guarantee, would be huge. If Moton and Mahon can seize their opportunities then the Panthers might come out of this whole mess with more than just a taped-together offensive line. They might have a unit that Newton and McCaffrey can trust. You can’t ask for more than that to start a season.Are you afraid of Washington? Carolina’s next road trip is a Week 6 contest against the Washington football team. They are not the scariest match-up on paper, but Cincinnati taught us last week that not every tiger is what it seems. Washington is going to be a tougher game than you might expect.You’re going to hear a lot in these columns about trap games. 2018 is full of them. The idea is the team could get caught looking past one opponent because a tougher one is on the horizon. Week 7, for example http://www.authenticscarolinapanther...e-adams-jersey , is another trip north. The Panthers will face the reigning Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles — a team which handed the Panthers a bitterly close loss last year. I don’t think that will be the case with this game.Alex Smith is the former 1st overall pick turned average journeyman game manager that everyone who isn’t honest with themselves thinks Cam Newton should be. He can run a little and he can throw short and intermediate balls pretty well, but he’s not known for leading heroic fourth quarter comebacks or striking fear into the hearts of defenses with his deep ball accuracy. He shouldn’t be a game breaking concern.Adrian Peterson is no longer the guy that wins games all by himself. He has lost a step in his old age. Even if he hadn’t, the Panthers have traditionally done very well defending against him. His best game against them required 20 carries to total 84 yards and a single touchdown in 2011. That was three careers ago for most running backs.If it seems weird to you that I am pointing out all of the reasons why Washington shouldn’t be frightening in a column that is supposed to point out all of the reasons why Washington is frightening then you may have forgotten who their opponent is in Week 6. This is exactly the kind of team that Carolina would lose to. Their kryptonite is middle-of-the-road-at-best players and teams that step up and have career days. Remember Thomas Rawls and Andre Brown.Regardless of who is on the schedule or when, the Panthers have a time honored tradition of winning games they had no business being in and losing games they shouldn’t. Their loss to the Bears last season comes to mind.It even features a similar formula with an uninspiring offense and a highly competent defense. This isn’t 2015. The Panthers have yet to prove they are a cut above the rest of the league. I hope I’m wrong, but this game feels all too familiar.