Carolina Panthers star defensive end Charles Johnson suffered a groin injury in the Panthers easy Thursday Night Football victory over the rival, winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the injury was never believed to be serious. Johnson was always expected to play in this week’s rivalry game against the hobbled Atlanta Falcons, as an MRI turned up negative.
ESPN NFL Nation’s David Newton reports that Charles Johnson stated his groin “feels fine”, and the key starter says that he plans on playing this week against the Falcons. He definitely has a favorable matchup this week, as he will either be facing Lamar Holmes or Jeremy Trueblood on the right side. Both of those two have, predictably, done a terrible job of protecting Falcons star QB Matt Ryan. Holmes is the normal starter on the right side, but he’s been starting on the left side with Sam Baker out. Johnson’s matchup depends on whether or not Baker plays this week.
The Falcons allowed Ryan to be hit a whopping 11 times in yesterday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, so expect a healthy Charles Johnson to make life very difficult for the Falcons offense. He already has six sacks this season, and he does an amazing job of putting consistent pressure on the passer. Look for another big game from him this week, and I think we could easily see a multi-sack effort from him.