Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera named Byron Bell the team's starting left tackle on Tuesday, Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review reports.
Bell, 25, went undrafted in 2011, but has started 41 games for the Panthers at right tackle. Rivera said the move to the left side has brought out the best in Bell.
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“He’s done some things on the left side that he didn’t do on the right side that have been impressive,” Rivera said. “But the biggest thing we keep forgetting is, he’s a natural left-hander.
“His punch is a lot better, and his first step is a little bit better. Again that’s because he’s working off his left side. Having seen that, I have confidence that he can do the job for us.”
Bell beat out converted defensive tackle Nate Chandler for the right to protect quarterback Cam Newton's blind side.
The Panthers open the regular season on Sept. 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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- Paul Palladino