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Cowboys vs. Panthers Week 1: Panthers offensive linemen getting healthy but will they play?

The Panthers offensive line has had a rough offseason.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have had a couple of scares along the offensive line this preseason. One turned out to be minor (Zack Martin’s knee), the other is still uncertain (Travis Frederick being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome). The Cowboys opponent in the first week of the regular season, the Carolina Panthers, have really had a tough time along their offensive line. Right tackle Daryl Williams hurt his knee as did left guard Amini Silatolu. Additionally, left tackle Matt Kalil had to go on IR.

While Kalil will obviously be out for eight weeks, the other two could possibly return to the field for Week 1, something that was not even being considered when the injuries first happened. Both have returned to practice this week.

Via reporters at practice, right tackle Daryl Williams is practicing in full pads today, as is left guard Amini Silatolu.

Having either one back this week against Dallas would help, though there’s no guarantee either will be available. Williams suffered an MCL sprain and dislocated kneecap in the first padded practice of training camp, while Silatolu had a procedure for a torn meniscus.

It may be too optimistic to think they’d be ready this soon, but their participation is a good sign, as was not putting Williams on IR so he could return after eight weeks.

Williams is the most important, as he would be charged with handling DeMarcus Lawrence. Williams earned a second-team All-Pro nod last year, but it sounds like he might not go even though he is back at practice. You can read the tea leaves with news like this:

Head coach Ron Rivera said after Sunday’s practice that the Panthers have modified both Silatolu and Williams’ workouts this week. And Williams was non-committal in the locker room when asked if he’d be ready to go, though he said the team was “definitely” being cautious.

If he can’t go, the backups are questionable.

But at right tackle, Carolina had to place fill-in player Jeremiah Sirles on injured reserve on Saturday. Unlike Kalil, he is not eligible to return.

So the Panthers are left with fourth-year tackle Corey Robinson, for whom they traded a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick on Saturday, undrafted free agent guard/tackle Brendan Mahon, and Amini Silatolu, who is rehabilitating a torn meniscus but who Rivera said last month was further along in his recovery than Williams.

Over at left tackle, Randy Gregory will be opposed by the Panthers future.

At left tackle, we will now see the future in action. Taylor Moton, Carolina’s second-round pick in 2017, is as bright as they come and built well for the position at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds. He has thus far managed to fill in as a stacked tackle, at left guard, at right tackle when starter Daryl Williams got hurt, and has since been playing left tackle in place of Kalil. He looks incredibly promising.

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