Jul 25, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) catches a pass during training camp held at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Lurking in the Shadows: Panthers at Patriots

On Friday, Aug. 22nd, the Carolina Panthers will travel north to take on the New England Patriots at 7:30pm.  This will be the Panthers third preseason game and the last time we get a good look at Cam Newton and the starting offense.  Last week Cam and the offense got off to a rough start going three-and-out on the first three drives. However, the Panthers put their foot on the gas later in the half to take the lead and show the world that we might not be as bad off as everyone thinks.  The starting offense and defense are expected to play the complete first half Friday and should spend some time this week doing a bit of game planning and getting ready for the season.

Recap of Chiefs at Panthers

Josh Norman

Norman may be the most bull-headed player I have ever enjoyed watching play defense.  He seems to play with so much emotion that he is always one play away from getting kicked out of the game for unsportsman like conduct… I love it!

Norman had finally worked his way back in position to fight for a starting spot and was getting playing time against the Chiefs starting offense.  Norman’s job was to cover Dwayne Bowe and he played him well.  Bowe seemed to lose his effectiveness when Norman was covering him but it wasn’t long before Norman was yanked from the game for playing too emotional.

Though his actions did not render a flag, they would have if it was not for Thomas Davis getting in his face and backing him down.  Norman could be in trouble for a roster spot with Melvin White and Antoine Cason playing extremely well and the Panthers no-nonsense mentality.

Lets hope he pulls it together because we are a better defense with him on the team.

Brenton Bersin

Talk about a feel good story.  Bersin has been on the Panthers practice squad and is a Charlotte native.  He also went to Wofford where the Panthers hold training camp.  Bersin is a big WR with great hands and a great football IQ but, lacks the speed in a WR that you would like to have.

Bersin played early in the game getting reps with the first team and he caught a huge first down pass from Cam.  He looked very comfortable in the offense and with the starters.  After Cam left the game, Bersin caught a huge touchdown pass to take a commanding lead over the Chiefs, and we never looked back.

Bersin has been a WR on the bubble throughout training camp along with Marvin Mcnutt and Tavarres King.  Bersin and King have seemed to wrap up the 5th and 6th spots on the roster but only time will tell.  This game here is big for both WR’s to take advantage of their great play and make the final roster.

Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams did not light up the stat sheet last week but still solidified his spot on the Carolina roster.  Williams played well with the starting offense, and got ample time with the starters due to Greg Olson sitting out.

Williams aka “Swole Bones” is a big guy.  He is getting the hang of blocking and has great hands in the receiving game.  It’s impressive, considering this is only his second year and before that he played basketball.  Williams had one cath for 31 yards, but the good thing is, he continues to be a consistent threat at making big plays. Look for Williams to continue to impress and see more time on the field.

Preview of Panthers at Patriots

Kelvin Benjamin

I nominate Kelvin Benjamin the greatest WR to ever come out of college and that he will win rookie of the year!

I’m just kidding…

On a serious note, Benjamin has done nothing but impress this offseason and preseason.  He had an epic first TD catch his first preseason game and caught two passes for 46 yards in the second game.

KB and Cam seem to be clicking on all cylinders and getting along as well as you could hope.  This could be the making of something big in Carolina but we will have to wait and see.  I can see this as a big game for the two.

The starters are playing for the entire half and  we will get to see a more prepared offense than last time.  Don’t expect the Panthers to have three, three-and-outs this time around.

The Panthers should be starting to slowly game plan for games to get ready for the season, so this means trying to get Kelvin acclimated to making NFL-type plays.  Look for Kelvin to get a good amount of targets with Cam and the starting offense.

Fozzy Whittaker

Fozzy could be a great addition to the Panther running game.  Earlier this week, the Panthers traded Kenjon Barner to the eagles for a seventh-round pick.

This was the Panthers way of telling Fozzy and Darrin Reaves that there was a spot open at RB, and one of you are going to make it.  Reaves had an impressive game against the Bills but has been hit by the injury bug and has not seen much practice time since.

This puts Fozzy in a perfect position to succeed.  Fozzy took the show from Cam’s return by running with a purpose.  I read that Fozzy stood up before the team and said, “Well, I don’t know how long I’m going to be here, but with the opportunity I’m going get, I’m going to show unbelievable effort.”

That, my friends, is a man on a mission.  Look for Fozzy to get ample carries Friday night and seal the deal as the third running back on the  Panther roster.

Anderson Russell

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Anderson is another secondary name that no one knows until he is put in the game.

Anderson was an undrafted player in 2010 that never seemed to find his spot on an NFL roster.  The Panthers signed Russell to their practice squad last year and that’s where he remained.

This year Russell has seemed to earn the respect of the coaches and is getting starting time with Roman Harper being sidelined with turf toe.  Russell has played well and is a great tackler, which is what the Panthers looks for in safeties.  We may not have the biggest and fastest secondary, but we tackle well and have a great front seven.

This allows the secondary to shine and Russell is showing the coaches that he is ready to step up.

It’s never a bad thing to have safeties that can control a game when one of your safeties is aging and having some health issues his first year with the team.  Look for Russell to get more starting time and if he performs well, sending Robert Lester to the bubble.

 

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Tags: Brandon Williams Brenton Bersin Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Foswhitt Whittaker Josh Norman Kelvin Benjamin

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