CHARLOTTE — The Panthers placed two of their top defensive players on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, among six total players added to that roll.
The team placed defensive end Brian Burns, linebacker Shaq Thompson, defensive end Marquis Haynes Sr., and defensive tackle Phil Hoskins on the list, along with defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon and center Matt Paradis. Nixon and Paradis were already on injured reserve and out for the year.
Losing Burns and Thompson is a blow for a defense that has been forced to carry a more significant burden this year anyway.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule referred to it as a "somewhat significant" number earlier Monday, which was affecting some particular position groups, and those absences are making the defensive numbers difficult at the moment. The Panthers are particularly thin at linebacker, as they have been all season.
They did activate quarterback Matt Barkley from the reserve/COVID-19 list, but they have 13 total players on the list now.
They now have to figure out how to patch together a lineup, and Rhule said that general manager Scott Fitterer and the personnel department were working on alternatives to bring players in.
The Panthers also waived kicker Alex Kessman from the practice squad. He was signed last week.
Those moves leave the Panthers with 45 players on the active roster and 14 on the practice squad, so there is room for some additions in the coming days.