Six Things We Can Take Away From the Carolina Panthers Preseason Opener
The Carolina Panthers are bound to be one of the most followed ones in the league. Can Cam Newton build off his first year’s success? Will the defense improve off a dismal 2011 campaign? Will the investment in two running back pay off? Which rookies will step up this year?
Saturday night’s preseason opener gave fans a taste of what lays ahead for the Panthers. While there are some not so good things, there are definitely some positives that can be taken away from the game as well.
- Luke Kuechly looks to be worth a No 9 pick and then some. The Boston College product had four tackles in limited action and made each one count. He stuffed Houston running back Ben Tate on a goal line play and forced Arian Foster to fumble as well.
- Cam Newton is obviously the man, but should he go down it looked like Derek Anderson might be back. He was 9-12 for 99 yards with one interception, but looked good leading the team on a late first half drive.
- Fourth round pick Joe Adams could be an exciting addition to the team. Rather than just run head long into the Texans punt coverage for a modest gain he put on a little show for fans with a dazzling 39-yard run in the fourth quarter.
- As many yards as the team gave up to all four Houston QBs the team has to be happy that they were able to hold Houston out of the red zone on four of five drives.
- The offense will benefit from more time in practice. Cam Newton looked off with his passing at times and the line definitely had trouble picking up the blitzes from the Texans. True, the Texans happen to be one of the best defenses in the league, but if the team is going to come close to backing up center Ryan Kalil they are going to have to do much better.
- It might be time to get whatever the team can for quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The poor guy looked frazzled when he got in the game. He only completed 3 of 6 passes and was sacked five times. In all fairness, he was playing behind a line that was thin on talent and experience, but with the way Anderson played who knows if he’ll get much of a chance.
The team still has a ways to go before they can consider themselves a legitimate contender, but to do the good things they did against a very tough Houston team is reason for hope. We’ll see if they can build off of it when they take on the Miami Dolphins on Friday, August 17.