Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins Preseason Preview
The Carolina Panthers discovered some new things in their first preseason game of the year. And while their defense was far from stout, they bent and didn’t break in a lot of spots, which showed some improvement. We’re looking for even more progress in preseason game number two, while also trying to find out more about some key players and position battles.
We’ll even get a chance to look at the Miami Dolphins and everything they have to offer. The starters should play considerably longer in game two, so here’s a few things to watch for when the Panthers and Dolphins take the field on Friday night:
1. Cam Newton Needs to Show Something
He doesn’t really have to wow us, but a nice play or two or a touchdown would let us rest a little easier with all this “sophomore slump” talk hanging around. I’m not sure if anyone truly believes he’ll regress in his second season, but until he shines again (he didn’t in the first game), the possibility will linger. I think he’ll be fine, but I’d like to see him do some damage against the Dolphins.
2. Ryan Tannehill’s Progress
From one young quarterback to the next. Panthers fans want to get a good look at Newton lighting up the field, but Miami just wants a competent starter under center. Tannehill really looked comfortable after the second half last week, and everyone will be waiting to see if he builds off of a solid first performance. Carolina’s defense might be slowly getting better, but this is still a unit even Tannehill should be able to move the ball against. A face-plant against the Panthers could stop the hype train pretty quickly.
3. No Chad Johnson, So Who?
The Dolphins cut Chad Johnson, so we’ll get an extra look at starter Davone Bess, as well as all of Miami’s lesser talents at the position. I really would like to see Brian Hartline take the field and show what he’s got in this new offense. Unfortunately, he’s been slow to recover from an appendectomy and he may not play in this game. Hopefully he does, but if not, Miami fans will get a long look at the likes of Clyde Gates, starter Legedu Naanee, Roberto Wallace, Julius Pruitt and B.J. Cunningham. Naanee looks to hold onto a starting gig, while everyone else not named Bess has to play into a role still.
4. Luke Kuechly, Part Deux
I love Kuechly, and was stoked when the Panthers drafted him this year. He immediately made his presence known last week, as he registered four solid tackles and even helped force a fumble. This kid just has a nose for the football and as long as he’s on the field, Carolina’s defense has a chance to stop the opposition. He doesn’t make them elite just yet, but he without a doubt already is making them better.
5. Rookies and Misc
The Panthers are still allowing their receivers to duke it out for the third receiver job. Brandon LaFell and Steve Smith have the top two spots locked up, while Louis Murphy, Joe Adams, David Gettis and Seyi Ajirotutu will battle for the third position. Gettis would be the pick if he was healthy, but since he’s still nursing an acl injury, the battle appears to be wide open.
I’d like to see more out of Miami rookie running back Lamar Miller. He was very average in his first preseason game. Look for the Dolphins to give him a big more run in this one, and try to get him into open spaces. So far he’s been solid in camp, but he’ll need to show he can get it done in games before the coaches start inserting him into game-plans over Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas.