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TNF Preview: The Panthers Look to Get in the Win Column at Home Against the Buccaneers

The Panthers in week one were home losers to the Rams, and tonight they will try to get their first win of the year on National TV as they play host to the Buccaneers.

The Bucs were also week one losers, falling at home to the 49’ers, so both teams are hungry to get their first win of 2019.

Here’s three keys for a Cats win:

1. Feed McCaffrey

The best playmaker on the field on either offense is Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, and last week he got off to a good start, rushing for 128 yards, and he also added 10 receptions against the Rams.

McCaffrey is at his best when he’s in the open field, and with a Bucs D that allowed too many big plays and points last week to the 49’ers, he should be in line for another solid game.

A big game for McCaffrey means more chances for Cam Newton.

2. Can the Panthers Young WR’s Step Up?

Last week up and coming receivers Chris Samuel and D.J. Moore had 10 combined catches in the close loss to the Rams at home.

This week expect them to get more chances in the Cats offense, as Newton will need to look downfield against a Tampa Bay offense that seems to be open to giving up big plays early and often.

3. Pressure Winston

Last week Bucs QB Jameis Winston threw three picks in their opening day home loss to the 49’ers, and some of that was due to the pressure that the Niners were able to get up front.

The Panthers let the Bucs escape with a 24-17 win the last time they played in Tampa last December, but that’s when the Cats were already in their free fall and not able to do much of anything on either side of the ball.

This time they are focused on both sides of the ball, and while it took them some time to get going against the Rams, the second half they played better, they need a big effort from the D to do that again on Thursday night.

Rams at Panthers NFL Week One Inactives

Rams

OT Bobby Evans
DT Greg Gaines
CB David Long
TE Johnny Mundt
LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
C Coleman Shelton
WR Nsimba Webster

Panthers

DT Vernon Butler
OG Brandon Greene
QB Will Grier
LB Bruce Irvin
LB Jordan Kunaszyk
OT Greg Little
WR Brandon Zylstra

Ron Rivera Says There’s ‘No Doubt’ QB Cam Newton Will Play Week One

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says “there’s no doubt in my mind” that Cam Newton will play in the team’s regular season opener against the Rams, the Associated Press reports.

Rivera says the 30-year-old quarterback has made “good strides” after suffering a mid-foot sprain in last Thursday night’s preseason game against at New England.

Newton threw on the side field Tuesday but did not practice.

Rivera expects Newton will return to practice when the Panthers begin preparations for the opener against the Rams on Sept. 8.

Like the team’s other starters, Newton will not play in the final preseason game Thursday night against the Steelers.

Panthers Getting Nervous About Kicker Graham Gano’s Availability for the Opener

A report says that the Panthers are starting to get “uneasy” about veteran kicker Graham Gano’s availability for the start of the regular season.

Gano has been unable to kick during training camp or the preseason due to a leg injury. “Well, we’ll see. Hopefully what’ll happen is, in the next day or two as he continues going through his process of working back to health, we’ll know whether he’s going to kick or not,” coach Ron Rivera said Monday. “If he’s able to, he most certainly will. That’s for sure.”

Through camp, Rivera has remained optimistic the veteran would be ready for the regular season and repeatedly backed Gano, but the coach is finally voicing concern. With Gano remaining out, rookie kicker Joey Slye has been perfect through the preseason. The Virginia Tech product nailed 6 of 6 field goal attempts — including from 55 and 54 yards — and both of his extra-point tries.

The last time Gano was challenged in Panthers camp was 2017, when Harrison Butker showed out during the preseason. Carolina, however, stuck with the (more expensive) veteran and cut Butker, who landed in Kansas City and has been a big-legged stalwart for the Chiefs. Gano responded to that challenge with a Pro Bowl season. Now, however, he’s coming off a disappointing 2018 campaign in which he dealt with injury and made just 87.5 of his field-goal attempts with three missed PATs.

The Panthers would save nothing on the salary cap by cutting Gano, who has been their kicker for the past seven seasons. But it seems possible that his job could be in jeopardy if he does not show he is ready for action very soon.

Panthers QB Cam Newton Has a Mid-Foot Sprain in His Left Foot; Hopeful to Play Week One

An X-ray and further testing on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton revealed a mid-foot sprain in his left foot according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Newton suffered the injury in Thursday night’s preseason loss to the New England Patriots and was spotted wearing a walking boot after the game.

General manager Marty Hurney told Rapoport the team is “cautiously optimistic” that Newton will be ready for Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.

Observations of Newton’s throwing motion in his first game action since undergoing offseason shoulder surgery were generally positive even though there was little success on the field.

The Panthers and head coach Ron Rivera could be in serious trouble if Newton’s foot injury lingers into the regular season.

Second-year pro Kyle Allen, who has made one NFL start, has been the backup quarterback this preseason ahead of third-round rookie Will Grier and Taylor Heinicke but none of them are attractive ooptions for a team desperate to return to the playoffs in 2019.

Panthers Bring Back Veteran Safety Tre Boston

Tre Boston is back with the Panthers, as veteran safety has inked a one-year, worth $3 million according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Boston is no stranger to Carolina, as he was a fourth-round choice of the Panthers in 2014 and subsequently spent three seasons in Carolina, starting 10 games in his final year with the team.

He was cut with one year remaining on his rookie contract, and was then signed to subsequent one-year pacts by the Chargers and Cardinals. In both campaigns, Boston started at least 13 games.

Last season Boston played for the Cardinals.

Panthers QB Cam Newton Throws with No Limits at Camp

After an injury filled 2018 that saw the team suffer in the end, it sounds like Thursday was ‘all systems go’ for Panthers QB Cam Newton as he had no limits on his throws at the team’s camp.

Cam Newton completed two long passes on the first day of training camp, displaying the arm strength that was noticeably absent the second half of last season.

The Panthers quarterback participated in 11-on-11 team drills for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery in January on his right throwing shoulder. After a shaky start, Newton completed a long TD pass to wide receiver Curtis Samuel — one that sailed 40 yards through the air — and another 45-yard strike to tight end Chris Manhertz Thursday night at Wofford College.

“Everything that we saw (leading up to camp) really just pointed to him being ready to go,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “It not only did a lot for us, but I think it did a lot for him just uncorking one like he did and letting it go.”

Newton threw about 40 passes during individual drills and another 40 during team drills and didn’t appear to be on any type of a pitch count.

Quarterbacks coach Scott Turner said he wasn’t surprised to see Newton air it out.

“Oh yeah, there’s no limitations,” Turner said. “He’s out here practicing just like any of our other guys.”

Newton signed autographs for fans afterward, but declined comment.

“The long one to Curtis was great and he had a couple of other nice ones,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “For the first night I think it was what everyone was hoping for.”

Video – Still Climbing: The Story of the 2018 Carolina Panthers

The 2018 season was the Carolina Panthers’ 24th in the National Football League and their eighth under head coach Ron Rivera.

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