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Panthers vs. Giants Preview

The hour is nigh, expectations are high, and we’re ready to let the ball fly. I hope everyone has a spot picked out to watch the Panthers’ first preseason game on Saturday. I know I do. We all have expressed thoughts about what has really been going on in training camp and at Fanfest, but now the Panthers have their first opportunity to show other teams what they’ve been up to. Hurney has been a busy bee in the off season and anxious fans are waiting to see if it paid off. We already know J.R. certainly paid. So what are some things that we can expect to see on Saturday?

 

The most anticipated offense in recent years is about to take the field and with the amount of playmakers we’ve retained and picked up, it should be pretty exciting. DWill and Stewart are expected to keep business as usual for at least the first quarter. I expect that we will see more than enough of Mike Goodsen and Tyrell Sutton in this game out of wanting to keep the starters fresh for the regular season. Definitely look for a few big running plays from all of them to get fans up out of their seats. With David Gettis done for the season and star Steve Smith being out for a while, it is up to the young guys and Naanee to pick up the slack. Armanti Edwards has been the most talked about WR at camp so far and he’s looking to make an impact in this first game. Since he has also been taking some snaps at QB, expect to see a few plays in the Wildcat formation as well. TEs Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey might very well be the two players that produce the most yards in the midfield and possibly the endzone. I can’t say enough about these guys. I’m not expecting amazing plays producing long yardage, but they will be catching everything that comes to them and making defenses pay for the pass rush.

 

The big question is who will be at QB? I think Clausen will be taking those honors for at least the first game or two. There are a couple of reasons to support this choice. One, we have a solid offensive line with the return of Jeff Otah and Jimmy should have a little more time to make a decision before he spazzes out and throws the ball away. He should be hitting many short routes and running the sure fire, easier plays with more confidence. Two, why risk injuring your prize stallion before he gets a chance to shine. If any other teams are believing the hype about Cam, you may have one or two tackles trying to give him a little too friendly a welcome into the NFL. Cam will get to play. He wants that #1 spot as much as everyone else wants him to have it. I think he will be going for the endzone on more than one play and he might just get some impressive TD’s.

 

The defense may not be as entertaining as the offense on Saturday, but we should see a lot of pressure in the first two quarters. With Ron Edwards out for the season and several others recovering from injury, Rivera is going to pull these guys out as soon as he sees what he’s looking for. Pressure on the QB, tough pass defense, and maybe a forced turnover or two. Edwards’ injury will give rise to guys like rookies Sione Fua and Terrell McClain, who have been working hard to stuff the run as starters. They will certainly have their work cut out for them, but they are going to have plenty of help. Linebackers Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, and James Anderson will be making sure that. If someone breaks through the first line, they won’t get very far. Meanwhile Charles Johnson will be head hunting any QB unlucky enough to still have the ball when he gets to them. These guys alone should create enough pressure for at least one fumble and I’m anticipating at least 3 sacks in the first half. The secondary leaves the biggest question mark in that there is no doubt we are on the smaller side. Captain Munnerlyn is no one to sleep on, but his size may allow for one or two big pass plays. Chris Gamble is looking to return to his old self and he will be shutting down the long yardage plays for however long he is in there. Also, UDFA Kendric Burney might show some promise when he gets his chance. I don’t think we’ll have any picks, but we should see solid coverage from these guys.

 

All in all, I predict we will see what Panther fans were hoping for. An offense that stays on the field, a defense that forces bad decisions, and an overall gameplay that will keep fans up in attention. I won’t waste time predicting scores in the preseason because right now it’s all about progress. Although, over the past few seasons, we have stuck it to the Giants pretty hard and I wouldn’t mind seeing a repeat. Go Panthers!


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