Ever since April 25th, Day one of the NFL draft, time has moved very slowly. NFL fans have been wondering how their team will do. Will their rookies shine? Or will they bust? Will teams do as well as last year? Or do worse? Now I know a lot of us have been trying to get any drop of football juice from training camp practices to quench our thirst for football. Fear not those drops are about to turn into rivers. In just 6 days the Panthers kickoff preseason against the Bears. All those various questions from training camp will be answered. I know this is early but here are some things to look our for in the first preseason game.
The Offensive Line-
Reports from training camp are constantly bashing the offensive line. Talking about how Hardy, CJ and almost every other defensive lineman are getting through to the quarterback. Now with Hangartner gone it will be interesting to see how the line performs. It will also be interesting to see how the depth does. Luckily we have preseason for Gettleman to patch it up. This line is certainly going to need some work.
The Defensive Line -
This case is the complete opposite of the offensive line; the anticipation of how well the line is going to do is killing me. At the draft the Panthers turned a weakness into a strength with the picks of Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. Not only should the tackles be good but there is always Hardy and CJ. The goal is to make the other teams offense as scared as possible. Intimidation is a powerful thing.
All offseason fans were chirping about getting a replacement for Steve Smith and moving Smith to the slot. That may not have happened but they did add two solid receivers in Ted Ginn Jr and Domonik Hixon. It will be interesting to see how they look in game. Also I have heard positive things about Armanti Edwards and Joe Adams from camp leaving Pilares, Gettis, and all those other wonderful wide receivers fighting to make the team.
Another thing we wanted to see was a high level cornerback added to the roster. That unfortunately did not happene but they did bring in Drayton Florence to help mentor some of the younger defensive backs. He could be a solid 2nd string corner as well but we will have to see how he does against the bears. Also Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Norman and Josh Thomas will all have another year under their belt to mature and hopefully get better. Another addition was Mike Mitchell who got reps with the first team in training camp and was used in a lot of blitzing packages so it will be interesting to see how he plays.
There could be a battle emerging at the backup quarterback spot. Clausen has reportedly looked good and could be pushing Anderson for that 2nd string quarterback spot. Not that Anderson would be cut or anything but from what I'm hearing Clausen is looking good. I'm guessing they will both play a fair amount in the preseason so we shall see how they do.
The excitement of football is rushing through my veins. I cant wait. I hope this post gives you something to look out for during the first game. Hopefully they will look like the team that played at the end of the year last year!