Finally, the Panthers get to hit someone from another team rather than each other. It's about time. Also, be sure to chime in on Open Game Thread Monday Night at 7pm.
We can expect the Panther first team offense to play at least two series but not maybe much more. Josh McCown will be the first off the bench and expect to see RB Mike Good son early and often. Matt Moore will get a chance to atone for a horid 2008 peseason that ruined his momentum. An early measure of this offense will be how well the 1st team o-line manages to run the ball against the Giants first team d-line. Here's the state of the Giants d-line from the Bleacher Report:
I have no idea how the defensive line will shake out. There are at least eight guys that could be starting on many teams (Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka, Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, and Jay Alford).
Some of these guys are coming off injuries. Might the Panthers make a bid for one of these cast-offs? Other players to watch on offense include WR Dwayne Jarrett, FB Tony Fiammetta and WR Jason Carter. I will also key on how well the Panther srun the ball late in the game when the back-up o-linemen are in the game.
Since these two teams meet later this season don't expect too much trickery. The scheme should be fairly vanilla from both offenses as they focus on execution of the basics.
I'm excited about seeing this new, more aggressive defense we've heard so much about. Expect a lot of rotation across the front line and hopefully they can keep the Giant running game in check. LB Dan Conner should get in the game early as our second team LB's will get plenty of action. Rookie DE Everette Brown should replace Peppers on the right side early as well. Let's see if the kid is the real thing and gets pressure on whatever Giant QB is out there. Another battle to watch is DE Charles Johnson trying to outperform Tyler Brayton, a hybrid DE/DT who could become a 3rd down specialist.
The secondary should get plenty of work as the Giants try to figure out what they have at WR. The Giants Steve Smith won't be playing either so the Panther secondary can expect opportunities to make plays on the ball in the red zone. Without Plaxico Burress the Giants have no established red zone receiving threat. This should give S Quinton Teal an opportunity to continue his good work and who knows, maybe an INT in a live game.
Once we get in the 4th quarter let's see if there is a drop off in intensity. A couple UDFA's are making a bid for the practice squad, including LB Jon Leman and DT Marlon Favorite. Also 7th round pick Captain Munnerlyn will probably play a lot and hopefully show how to play the bump and run. I will be curious to see how much man-to-man the Panthers will show the Giants just to give them something to think about when they meet again when it counts.
Both the kick return and punt return competitions are wide open. Expect to see some rotation as Goodson, WR Larry Beavers and WR Jason Carter take turns. On punts it will be WR Ryne Robinson, Beavers and Munnerlyn getting looks. It should be an adventure.
On kick coverage many of the Panthers second team will be trying to show the added value of good special teams play. I'm predicting Conner, Munnerlyn and Sherrod Martin excel against the Giants.