Carolina Panther’s 2014 Season Update
Tomorrow night the Carolina Panthers face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers — without Cam Newton who is out with a fractured rib — in their final preseason matchup (7:30pm on FOX). Beyond the outcome of tomorrow’s preason game, serious questions remain about the Panthers’ 2014 season. The first question is Cam Newton. Will he be ready for regular season play on Sept 7th? Let’s just say I’m not quite as optimistic as Coach Ron Riveria who assured reporters Cam would be ready to go for the start of the regular season. Beyond the question of Cam Newton, there are questions surrounding at least 3 parts of the Panther’s 2014 team:
Calling the Panther’s offensive line a “work in progress” would be doing it a kindness. Cam Newton is an amazing player, but he doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, and the entire offense would benefit from stronger run blocking. The old cliche that the game is won or lost in the trenches has stuck around because it’s true! The offensive line needs to gel quicklyto keep the offense, and Cam Newton, on the field.
The Carolina Panthers are basically starting over at the wide reciever position this year. You’d be forgiven if you didn’t recognize any of the players streaking down the field so far this preseason on offense — they’re all new! Steve Smith is gone, as is Brandon Lafell and several others. In their place we have our “great hope”, the Panthers first draft pick, Kelvin Benjamin. The dude has skills, no one says otherwise. Around Kelvin, the Panthers’ have also brought on Jason Avant, Jericho Cotchery and several others. The big question with the recieving core is how quickly they can get on the same page with Cam Newton — especially Kelvin Benjamin.
Also largely new this year is the defensive secondary. In their place we now have Roman Harper as the strong safety, Thomas DeCoud at free safety and Antoine Cason and Melvin White as our starting corners. The Panther’s secondary was a big part of its strength on defense last year. Can the Panthers catch lightening in bottle twice with their secondary? Tune in Sept 7th at 7:30pm to find out!
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Photo Source Flickr: Parker Anderson