Unless you are brand new to NFL football, you know that the third preseason game is typically the one that most resembles an actual NFL match. This Friday the Carolina Panthers take on the New England Patriots for their “dress rehearsal”. The Panthers have shown promise thus far in the preseason, but they still look quite rusty in some areas. Here are three things I would like to see on display in Carolina during this game.
The New Dynamic Duo
I am having a difficult time tempering my excitement around second year receiver Curtis Samuel and rookie DJ Moore. These two guys have enough talent to completely transform the Carolina Panthers passing offense. Throw in the fact that they now have a legitimate offensive coordinator and expectations get raised even higher. Still, they are both very young players and likely won’t get as many touches as you or I may like.
However, I want to see plenty of plays made by these two against the Patriots. Maybe, just maybe, if they continue to show they are the best options to be on the field Ron Rivera will let his veteran bias slide just a bit and give them an increase in playing time during the season.
The Rook Backers
The word on the street during training camp in Spartanburg was that the Carolina Panthers coaching staff was very high on rookie linebackers Andre Smith and Jermaine Carter. It now looks like both have a real shot of making the final roster. With Thomas Davis entering what may be his last season as a Panthers, it would be a godsend for Jermaine Carter to be able to step in and play at an adequate NFL level. Shaq Thompson will likely have his fifth year option picked up, but there is no guarantee he will be here in the long term.
Having two young linebackers contribute early would give the Panthers some breathing room in terms of cap management in the years to come. Perhaps they would invest in large men to protect Cam Newton? Which brings me to my final wish.
Please Protect Cam
With left tackle Matt Kalil now out of commission for a few weeks, Taylor Moton will find himself at his third position in as many weeks. From left guard, to right tackle, and now left tackle. There is a chance that Moton will out perform Kalil from the get go. And lets be completely honest, it won’t take much to do that. Nothing would please me more on Friday night than to see Moton’s name never mentioned during the game. My hope is to forget Moton is even playing due to the extreme amount of time Cam Newton has to throw the ball.
If the offensive tackle combination of Taylor Moton and Daryl Williams proves to be an effective one, it will be the first time since the Carolina Panthers 2015 Superbowl run that I won’t need a box of Tums at my desk on gamedays.Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.