Panthers vs Patriots Preview


Ordinarily the third preseason game is the most important, the one where the stars play the longest. Bryan Strickland of reports that Coach Ron Rivera is not thinking that way, with the first team to see less action than they did against the Chiefs. The Panthers will also be without starting right tackle Nate Chandler, and so the offensive line again becomes a patchwork group. The good news is that the Panthers plan to evaluate a bunch of guys in anticipation of Tuesday’s cut deadline.

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Date: August 22

Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Gillette Stadium

Local TV: WCCB Charlotte

Radio: WBT (99.3 FM)

Aug 15, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) on the sideline as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half during the preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-35. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent: New England Patriots

New England has been the standard to which all teams are measured. They have been this way almost since Tom Brady became their quarterback way back in 2001. In that time they have played the Panthers on several occasions, either through divisional scheduling or because both teams finished first place in their divisions. The most famous matchup was ten years ago in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

On offense, the Patriots still live and die by Tom Brady. The running back position is done by committee although Stevan Ridley is the primary rusher. Brady’s big target these days is Rob Gronkowski, but Gronk is likely to be limited in action in order to make sure he does not pick up an injury. One of the Patriots receivers is former Panther Brandon LaFell.

On defense, the Patriots often feel like they have replaceable parts. The linebacking corps includes SEC alums Donta Hightower and Jared Mayo, while the defensive line is still bolstered by Vince Wilfork at the hose tackle position. The major newcomer for the Patriots is Darelle Revis at corner. Revis was hurt last year, and the Patriots are hoping that he returns to the Revis Island days of old.

The Panthers and Patriots met last season in a Monday Night game when the Panthers were in the middle of their big turnaround. There was conflict between Steve Smith and Aqib Talib, neither of whom are still with those teams. Cam Newton had a big game, and found Ted Ginn to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Brady responded by going down the field and throwing an interception on the final play of the game. A flag was thrown for pass interference and then picked up to give the Panthers a 24-20 victory.

Jun 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Darelle Revis (24) runs through drills during organized team activities at the Patriots Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots Player To Watch: Darelle Revis, Cornerback

Revis may not see too much action, but if he is on the field then his matchup with Kelvin Benjamin should give a good indication where Benjamin is. Benjamin showed a little feistiness against the Chiefs and Revis is the kind of corner who could drive a receiver to frustration. Revis is only listed at 5’11” 198 lbs, but do not let that fool you. He is a strong harassing player.

Panthers Player To Watch: Garry Williams, Offensive Line

With Chandler most likely out, reserve lineman Garry Williams gets another chance to show that he might be the better option on the offensive line at right tackle. The Patriots are a good team for him to show what he can do. Their creative blitzing out of the 3-4 will keep the line on its toes. Williams will have to account for rush linebackers and the 3-4 end at times. He is also likely to see a lot of snaps.

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