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Kemoeatu tears Achilles tendon

After a quiet first week of injuries during training camp around the NFL, starters are quickly falling by the wayside Monday.

First the Eagles lost middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, then the Bengals lost tight end Reggie Kelly, and now the Panthers will be without starting defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu.

Kemoeatu, perhaps the key to Carolina’s rush defense, tore his right Achilles tendon. The team hasn’t announced anything, but he’s likely done for the season.

It’s an especially massive loss for the Panthers because they have little depth behind him.

When Kemoeatu was out last year, the team’s rush defense fell apart.

“It’s like night and day,” linebacker Jon Beason said at the time of having Kemoeatu in the lineup.

Undrafted free agent Marlon Favorite, 2008 sixth-round pick Nick Hayden, and third-round pick Corvey Irvin could all be used in a rotation.

No matter who they use, expect teams to right right at Carolina to test them.

There aren’t many exciting free agent defensive tackles available, and it’s questionable if the Panthers can fit one on the team anyhow.

Julius Peppers’ big salary has the team snug to the salary cap.