Observations From Carolina Panthers Preseason Games


Aug 22, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Green-Thompson (54) pursues the ball carrier during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I know most of the people reading this are going to go “but wait Joshua there is one more game” and they would be correct. However, the game last night was what I consider the unofficial end to the preseason. Most of the guys playing the last preseason game next week will be guys struggling to make the roster as practice squad members or guys who are deep backups. I like taking a look at what the starters have done as well as a few key back up players. You may get mad at me throughout this post but remember I love this team as much as you do if not more. I just have to “call em how I see em” if you know what I am saying.

Final. 17. 47. 16. 87

First I want to get the worse off my chest first and that is how terrible the offense has been. As a whole the group has looked terrible at best. If Cam Newton is not overthrowing receivers (which happened a little too much this preseason) then the receivers are dropping passes or not getting open at all. I still echo the sentiment that we should be out there trying to sign a veteran wide receiver to help lighten the load at that position.

However, Ron Rivera is going to stick it out with what he has already. I totally disagree here and I think it will lead to us being a bottom three offense. You can have a great running game but if you can not pass the ball you will struggle to find running lanes. The same can be said if you can pass the ball but can not run it. In the NFL you have to have an offense that is balanced or you better have overwhelming talent at what you do best.

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It looks like the Carolina Panthers will not have overwhelming talent in the run game due to a bad run blocking offensive line, good but not great running backs, and injury issues. So, they better be passing the ball quite a bit and doing it efficiently.

I trust Mike Shula with our offense like I trust RGIII not to get hurt throughout the whole season. Meaning absolutely not a single bit of trust. He calls plays that even I know are coming and I am not the other team’s coach or players either. So, when you see us run play after play for a loss trust me when I say that the other team just seen it coming.

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  • That happened a lot last season and yes we took care of the ball but at what cost? You have to switch it up sometimes to stay effective. Shula should of been fired in the offseason and replaced with Rob Chudzinski or someone with his type of talent for getting the best out of Newton. Newton does not fit what Shula wants to do. Just imagine Newton’s first season with what our defense is now and your talking Super Bowl bound more than likely.

    The offense did have a few good things to note. The offensive line in pass protection performed extremely well and looked more like a middle of the pack line then a bottom 10 offensive line. John Matsko, the offensive line coach, deserves the respect of many Panthers’ fans everywhere. Matsko has taken what other teams would consider garbage at the offensive lineman positions and turned them into good linemen. Hats off to him especially if they keep it up but either way he is getting the most out of what he has.

    Also, Jarrett Boykin gets a shout from me along with Brenton Bersin because these guys showed consistency in the passing game. They might not be terrific players at their position but they are good enough to be on the final roster in my opinion. The same can not be said for Corey Brown right now but I hope he snaps out of his funk. Brown has speed and the ability to get open so he needs to catch the ball. I think Brown will shake off his rust but he is not number one receiver talent to me.

    Now let me talk about the defense because it will be a lot shorter and sweeter. The defense has not lost a step from last season and to be honest it has gotten a whole lot better (did not know that was possible). I can see the Panthers’ defense being the top defense in the league if they play up to their talent. They have the best linebacker core in the NFL which has been reinforced by drafting Shaq Thompson. Speaking of Thompson he looked extremely good in the preseason and matter of fact better then I thought he would. Remember I always said I thought Thompson was going to be good just disagreed with picking him over more offensive help at wide receiver.

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  • Kurt Coleman was a nice surprise for me. He seems to be a ball hawk and a big hitter as well so he fits the Panthers scheme well. If he plays like he has so far in the preseason he could be a player to watch this season as the teams best secondary player. I personally like seeing him and Tre Boston out there together but I doubt Rivera will use that line up much.

    The defense was struggling with getting pressure against the Bills but I have since seen that we might have the answer with Kony Ealy opposite of Charles Johnson. Ealy has all the talent in the world to be a great pass rusher and is a player in the same mold as Greg Hardy. I just hope he stays out of trouble unlike Hardy.

    Josh Norman is clearly the Panthers best secondary player for now and is a top three cornerback in the NFL according to his stats. I think he will have a break out year and I am pretty sure this is his contract season so expect no slacking off (I doubt he does after getting a contract too). I think we filled a lot of holes in our defense but the defense’s number one problem is not anything they can control. They will struggle to catch their breath from all the three and outs the offense is going to have as evident by the late first half touchdown they gave to the New England Patriots. They looked gassed on that drive.

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    The last group I will mention is the special teams. We are solid at the kicker and punter positions but I am worried that the punt coverage team along with the kick return coverage team is going to be inconsistent. I think some games we will praise the special teams and other games we will scratch our head at how they could be so bad. We supposedly signed players to fill some holes there and even drafted a few but I still have doubts. Teams have always seemed to get the best of us on special teams the past few seasons.

    That is all from me for now and I hope you liked my thoughts. I know it was just preseason and some will say calm down but even in preseason some things are inexcusable. I am excited and ready for the season. I hope the season proves a lot of things I said about the offense to be wrong. I hope they come out and play fantastic. GO PANTHERS!