Jeff Otah is Gone: Panthers Trade
A first round pick from 4 years ago is now gone. Very little coming back however with only “conditional pick,” as the reported price for a somewhat promising offensive lineman.
I don’t like when guys get the “oft-injured” label. It makes you question either their toughness, their desire, their physical ability to stay healthy or any of a list of things. It’s just difficult when a guy starts out injured, plays a bit and then gets injured again, like a tease. You hear these fantastic reviews of him leading up to and in the draft and see the ability on the field but then it’s lost again as quickly as it came in.
It also leads to a whole lot of “Yeah buts…” As in, “Cam Newton had a great year, could have been better. Yeah but, Jeff Otah wasn’t even there to block.” ”The Panthers running game is sick! Between D’Angello Williams and Jonathan Stewart, they’re almost unstoppable. Yeah, but, Jeff Otah could have made that run game so much better!” It never materialized and that’s why he’s gone.
Between John Fox and Ron Rivera, I think there is a huge gap in loyalty, or rather, the inability to let go of a player. Foxy would want to keep a guy because he wanted him in the first place, forgetting whatever the doctors and trainers have told him, possibly ignoring even assistants. If John Fox was still the coach here, you might see Jake Delhomme at least backing up Cam Newton, if not starting with Cam as the “Wildcat” QB. That’s how attached he was. Remember DeShaun Foster? What about Dan Morgan? Yeah, he held on too long. Rivera doesn’t seem to have any of those hangups. Then again, not many of these guys are “his” guys in his second year as a head coach.
Jeff Otah seems to be the first victim of the Rivera turnover. I’m probably making more of it than what it is, but I see it playing out like this: ”See what we can get for Otah.” ”Really?” ”Yeah, dude can’t stay on the field, I’ve got no use for him.”
Byron Bell figures to be the full time starter after being basically the full time starter last season in Otah’s stead. I’m not going to pretend to be able to adequately size up an offensive lineman’s ability but I didn’t hear Bell’s name at all last season. If you don’t hear an offensive lineman’s name, he’s doing something right by not holding or at least getting caught holding. Sure, he works.
Amini Silatolu will be the guard, Bell on an end Jordan Gross on the other, Kalil in the middle and Hangartner as another guard, and you’ve got a massive, pretty solid offensive line. I’m happy with the move. If it’s one thing I hate, it’s stuff hanging over a team, like injuries, like a first rounder that hasn’t panned out. I’m not happy with trading a first rounder from 2008 for a 7th rounder in 2013, but hey, you gotta cut your losses.