When the inactive players for opening night are announced, that’s when you know the NFL season is finally upon us. With kickoff quickly closing in on the Thursday night tilt between the Broncos and Panthers, both teams have submitted theirs, with relatively few surprises.
Panthers inactives, via Bill Voth for Black and Blue Review: RB Cameron Artis-Payne, WR Brenton Bersin, WR Damiere Byrd, DE Lavar Edwards, G Tyler Larsen, S Dean Marlowe and LB Jared Norris.
Broncos inactives, via Jeff Legwold for ESPN.com: QB Austin Davis, CB Lorenzo Doss, WR Bennie Fowler, TE Jeff Heuerman, G Connor McGovern, DT Kyle Peko and T/G Ty Sambrailo.
The biggest name scratched is that of Artis-Payne for the Panthers. After earning the third running back spot on the depth chart, there may have been an assumption he would be active. Yet, due to his lack of contribution on special teams, that didn’t turn out to be the case. Jonathan Stewart will get the start, with backup Fozzy Whittaker and fullback Mike Tolbert sharing the load.
With Marlowe out, the Panthers also go light at safety with just three.
Most notable for the Broncos is the loss of Heuerman, with the offense’s No. 2 tight end out with an ankle injury. Veteran John Phillips will serve as the backup to Virgil Green.
Sambrailo’s absence is due to an elbow injury, and could potentially become an issue for the Broncos if anything happens to starting tackles Russell Okung or Donald Stephenson.