Who on the Panthers roster will not play?
1. Armanti Edwards (WR)—hamstring
With Armanti Edwards sitting out this pre-season game, he did not even fly to Philly, expect David Gettis to show-off his improved route running and catch ability. Under the microscope: Joe Adams, Keoloha Pilares, Brenton Bersin, Domenik Hixon, and others will have a chance to get a few more reps in tonight’s game. It’s the opportunity to carpe diem (seize the day).
2. Bruce Campbell (T)—rotator cuff injury (Out for the season)
Let’s not kid ourselves; the Panthers have concern over the O-Line. However, with Gettlemen’s “miracle-working” of releases and contract restructures which dramatically lowered the salary cap from what was 16 million over salary to 13.8million under salary, there is money to fix the situation. The question is when and whom do the Panthers pick up?
There has been some rumors floating around of possibly picking up Travelle Wharton, but his price must go down to consider that an option. I would not expect the Panthers to go after RT Winston Justice because he is the most expensive option.
I think, if the Panthers don’t sign Wharton, that they might look at a ‘connection’ option: (1) Sean Locklear (a former Giant). We all know that Gettlemen likes to bring in former Giants players and to me this seems like a viable option.
I am concerned with the lack of depth on the O-Line. I will be looking very closely as to how the O-Line rises to the occasion in tonight’s match-up.
3. Jonathan Stewart (RB)—ankle (expected to return GAME –1)
Stewart is out; he adds a different style of run to the Panthers with the different formations that they like to use when he is in the backfield. Poole, who is a heavier style runner, should show his ability by pounding the ball forward, picking up those hard-to-gain yards.
Good news: Domenik Hixon (WR) Probable
Hixon has been sidelined due to a hamstring injury for a few weeks. I look forward to his return and his ability to run the routes correctly and make plays.
What do I want to see out of tonight’s game?
A) A more consistent, faster-paced, driving Shula offense. The Panthers must show that they have corrected the problem of starting slow in games and come out with a sense of ‘urgency’ this year. The Panthers were fortunate enough against The Bears that Josh Norman had an interception, allowing the Panthers to have good field position leaving Cam with a nice throw to an improved route-runner, Brandon Lafell. Lafell seems to be the number two WR. But players like Joe Adams, Keoloha Pilares, Brenton Bursin, Richie Brockel, Ben Hartsock, Domenik Hixson, and others can have ample time tonight to make plays and show a progressing, sustaining, efficient running style of offense.
B) Speaking of the run, guys like Barner, Poole, and Smith also need to turn it up a notch continuing to show their worth to the team. I enjoyed seeing some of those guys turn what appeared to be short yard gains into good pick-ups, zigzagging and cutting side-to-side to pick up extra yards. Playmakers earn roster spots or are at least picked-up by other NFL teams. RUN-RUN-RUN the football!
C) Defense – Vick will be playing later in the game so our second-string defensive players need to show out. The defense will be tested tonight as they go up against a fast-paced, intense offense like the Eagles under Coach Kelly’s scheme.
The Defense had seven sacks against the Bears for our first preseason opener. Let’s double those numbers in tonight’s game. The Kraken talks a big game and I for one will stand behind him and the Panther’s defense.
Some might question, the ability of the defense to pick up that many sacks, given the elusiveness of the quarterback. But it is preseason and some of the quarterbacks can get squirmy back in the pocket allowing for defensive pressure and sacks.
Question: What do YOU want to see out of tonight’s game???
Written by: Phillip Boyce