Panthers rookie David Foucault will start at left tackle Thursday vs. Saints
Foucault will be starting in place of Blake Bell, who has injuries to both his elbow and knee. Foucault received extensive playing time in the Panthers' game against the Seattle Seahawks last week, replacing Bell and right tackle Nate Chandler when both players left with injuries at different points.
The 6-foot-8, 305-pound Foucault played collegiately at the University of Montreal.
"He's getting a feel for the speed of our game," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It's a little different coming from the college ranks in Canada. He's getting better and better. We really believe he's taken big steps."
"He's a young guy that you thought would have time to develop," Rivera said. "But with the games that he's had an opportunity to play in, you get excited, you get intrigued. It'll be fun to see how he does."
The Panthers have dealt with multiple injuries along the offensive line in addition to Bell's.
Garry Williams, the top backup at both left and right tackle entering the season, was placed on injured reserve in September due to a back injury. Offensive guard Amini Silatolu is out for the third straight week due to a calf injury. Chandler will play Thursday despite his injury against the Seahawks.
The team recently signed Mike Remmers to help add depth at the position.
Top two running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have also each missed several weeks due to injuries this season.
Carolina ranks 27th in rushing in the NFL, averaging 92.9 yards per game.
The Panthers are in first place in the NFC South at 3-4-1, while the Saints are just behind at 3-4.
- Ben Estes