Tonight is the second opportunity for the Carolina Panthers to show what they are capable of. It’s also a great chance for some of the guys fighting for rosters spots to display their skills.
Versus the Colts the team looked really good when the starters were on the field but there were also areas that will have to be addressed and still need a long look before the regular season begins. The coaches will get to see all they want versus Philadelphia tonight.
Here are my predictions. Some of them obvious, some not so obvious. We’ll keep score and tally it up late tonight.
- Jake Delhomme will throw more than one pass tonight especially since he’ll likely play into the second quarter. That elbow will be tested a little more in a game situation. He will look good and more of the doubters will have to question themselves.
- Jonathan Stewart will play little if at all. Coach John Fox has really been hedging his bets on the rookie running back. That surgically repaired toe has been causing him some pain but the docs are telling him it’s just scar tissue.
- DeAngelo Williams will carry the rock effectively. Period.
- The offensive line will get more time on the field and will continue to improve. Jeff Otah will keep mauling people and the running lanes will be wide enough for any running back to run through.
- With Steve Smith out (concussion), DJ Hackett out (toe), Dwayne Jarrett out (leg bruise) and Ryne Robinson out (knee sprain), Jason Carter will start opposite Muhsin Muhammad and could very well solidify a spot on the final 53-man roster.
- Julius Peppers will put on a bull rush, a spin move, a head slap and will finally lay a hit on Donovan McNabb. It will be a beautiful sight for all Panthers fans. The problem is that it will make every Eagles fan cringe.
- The linebackers will have to play their backsides off to hold on to starting roles. Jon Beason is safe while Thomas Davis has been showing improvement. With Landon Johnson and Dan Connor waiting in the wings, Na’il Diggs and Davis will have to show they belong out there.
- Adam Seward might find himself attached to the bench more until late in the game since he would rather be in New England anyway.
- Tyler Brayton will not kick anyone in the groin.
- Gary Gibson will make another play and someone, somewhere will say, “WOW! Where did he come from?”
- Charles Godfrey will look more and more comfortable in the secondary. The job is his at free safety so now he can begin to play like it belongs to him.
This doesn’t matter – at all. What I would rather do is to look at the scoreboard when the starters for both teams are leaving the field. A win is nice but it’s the preseason. I’m surprised they even keep score in these meaningless games. But this is another chance for everyone to step up and shine.