Bryan Strickland Senior Writer
CHARLOTTE – The Panthers should be close to full strength when they visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday Night Football.
The Eagles can’t say the same.
Eagles coach Andy Reid announced Saturday that quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy, both sidelined all week by concussion symptoms, won’t play. A pair of rookies – quarterback Nick Foles and running back Bryce Brown – are expected to start in their place.
When the Panthers’ offense tries to get healthy at the expense of the Eagles’ defense, they’ll do so behind a new starting right guard. Garry Williams will start, and Jeremy Bridges will make his season debut behind Williams, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Saturday.
Jeff Byers, who started the previous four games, will back up Williams and Bridges, Rivera said.
Bridges signed with the team Nov. 14 but wasn’t ready to play last week.
“He’s looked good,” Rivera said. “You can see his football conditioning is coming back. That was one of the concerns we had last week.
“Jeremy will get some reps, but we’ll start off with Garry Williams.”
On the defensive side, Hardy missed his second straight practice with a bronchial illness exacerbated by his asthma, Rivera said.
“Doc came in, took a look at him and prescribed some medicine, so he’ll hopefully be getting better,” Rivera said. “The doctor expects him to feel much better by (Sunday) morning, and then hopefully by Monday night he’ll be good to go.”
“He’s just sore, so we decided to give him a day off,” Rivera said. “It’s funny, you give all those other guys a day off, and he’s kind of been an afterthought because he worked through the same thing last year.”