When the Carolina Panthers faced the Chicago Bears in their first game of the preseason Panthers fans got their first glimpse into what this 2019 team will look like. Two words came to mind while I watched. Fast and Dynamic. It really is difficult to compare this defense to the defense of 2018. The Panthers are younger and faster, trading speed for experience. Time will tell if it pans out.
Last night also provided a glimpse into individual performances, some better than others. Here are the winners and losers from the game.
Carolina Panthers rookie wide receiver Terry Godwin arguably gained the most ground last night. Godwin was by far the most impressive returner, a path that could get him to the final roster. Throw in the fact that he also looked like a NFL receiver and one has to think he is now a favorite to grab that 6th wide receiver spot.
Many people are down on Will Grier after last night, but I don’t see it that way. Grier looked rusty at the beginning of his first ever NFL game, as most rookies do. However, Grier was able to quickly settle down and put together a good performance. That is what I wanted to see from the rookie. Weather the storm, come out on top. It ain’t about getting knocked down. It is about getting back up. Good on ya, Will.
I tell you what, watching the OLB duo of Brian Burns and Marquis Haynes last night got me more excited for this defense than I have been in many seasons. Both players showed tremendous potential as starters in this league. The tandem looks like the future of the Carolina Panthers pass rush.
It is time to officially call Vernon Butler a bust. The former first round pick was pushed around last night by second and third string Chicago Bears players. He is most definitely not assured a roster spot this season as the Carolina Panthers declined picking up his 5th year option. Perhaps Dave Gettleman would like his former selection in exchange for a draft pick?
On one side of the coin is Terry Godwin. On the other is Rashad Ross. Ross is competing for that same 6th wide receiver spot. Unfortunately for him, Ross muffed a punt, one of the few opportunities he will have this preseason. Ross was able to recover, but the damage is done. If you are a return specialist and on the bubble, you need a flawless performance to make this team. He has more ground to make up now than before the game.