Aug 8, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) on the sidelines during the second half of the game against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Bills win 20-18. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Lurking in the Shadows: Chiefs at Panthers

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Tonight the Kansas City Chiefs visit Charlotte, NC to take on the Carolina Panthers at 8:30 pm.  Last week I stated that we would see our first look at Cam Newton and our new WR corps.  The Panthers decided to keep Newton sidelined for one more weeks rest but, without further wait, tonight is the night we have been waiting for!  Cam Newton and the starters will play at least through the first quarter and fans will get a great look at what to expect from Cam and our new WR’s.

Recap from Bills at Panthers

Last week against the Bills I selected A.J. Klein, Bene Benwikere, and Tavarres King to be the players to watch.  A.J. had a solid game and it has been stated that he is head to head with Chase Blackburn for the weak side linebacker position.  A.J. will get ample starting time tonight with Chase Blackburn on the sidelines to prove he is up for the challenge in his second season with the Panthers.

Bene Benwikere did not have an interception or many tackles against the Bills but showed us what he brings to the table.  Bene is a solid defender with great ball hawking skills and has shown us, thus far, that he doesn’ make many mistakes.  Look for Bene to slowly win the Nickleback position from Charles Godfrey over the next few games while he becomes even more comfortable in the defense.

Tavarres King showed us exactly what we wanted to see.  King had the best night at WR other than Kelvin Benjamin’s unbelievable TD catch in the 1st quarter.  King is on the bubble to make the final roster but has put solid performances together in training camp and the preseason.  Look for King to continue tonight against the Cheifs in the second half and solidify his spot on the roster.

This weeks picks

Josh Norman

Josh Norman played like he always does in the preseason last week against the Bills — Extraordinary!  Norman had 6 tackles and the Panthers’ only interception of the night.  This has been the case each year for Norman during training camp and preseason.  It has been said that Norman could win his starting job back with multiple performances, like last week, in a row.

Last year Norman recorded 4 interceptions with one returned for a touchdown in the preseason.  He started receiving more playing time until the final seconds against the Bills last season when he let Stevie Johnson get behind him on a missed communication for a game winning touchdown.  After the blown play I can’t remember Norman stepping on the field again.

Norman is an aggressive player who plays tough against the run and has playmaker ability.  He has had a rough start to his career but is a player that can change the game with the right mentality.  Norman has to learn that he doesn’t have to have an interception each play and to play his role on the field.  Hopefully he turns the corner because we are better with him on the field.

Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams, aka “Swole Bones”, has been doing everything right since he was signed as an undrafted free agent last year.  A basketball player converted to football, Williams is a physical specimen and anyone that sees him in real life knows how he got his nickname.  When signed last year Williams had been out of football for the previous two years; which is why Greg Olsen stated he had progressed leaps and bounds from last year.

Last week Williams had an excellent game and scored a long touchdown pass to put on the exclamation point on his performance.  Williams will primarily be a blocking TE when the season starts but, if he can keep improving his route running and catching skills, he could steal the second TE spot from Ed Dickson.  Williams is a player that is on the rise and someone to watch out for the foreseeable future.

Brenton Bersin

Aug 8, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brenton Bersin (2) warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Brenton Bersin is having a great preseason with the Panthers.  It is not his physical attributes that WR coach Ricky Proehl loves, it is how smart of a player Brenton is.  “Bersin knows where to be and when to be there” says Proehl, which says a lot considering that is what made Proehl so successful throughout his long career.Bersin may not have the break away speed or athleticism of the other WRs, but he does have size.  Bersin stands 6’3″ at 210 lbs, making him a huge possession target for Cam Newton.  With Bersin on the field with other WRs such as Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers WRs will be  matchup hell for opposing secondaries.  Bersin is a feel good story and someone who has a legit chance at making his first NFL final roster.

Thanks for tuning into this weeks “Lurking in the Shadows” and I hope you enjoy the game tonight.  Feel free to get the word out with a follow and a like above and we will see you next time!  Keep Pounding Panther Nation!

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Tags: AJ Klein Bene Benwikere Brandon Williams Brenton Bersin Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Chase Blackburn Josh Norman Kelvin Benjamin Ricky Proehl Tavarres King

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