A Final Test


Do you have what it takes to make the team?  Are you good enough to hang in the NFL?  Tonight is your last chance to prove it on the field.

That’s the purpose of the final preseason game that the Carolina Panthers will play tonight versus the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

The starters are expected to play but don’t expect that time on the field to extend very far past the first series if at all.  That’s when the backups will be their chance to shine – and shine they must.

Saturday is the deadline for all teams to be down to the 53-man roster limit.  It’s also a day that crushes the dreams of many potential NFL players.  Which Panthers are in danger that need to show their stuff tonight?  Here’s a look at a few on offense.

QB, Brett Basanez:  This one could be a shocker considering the problems this team had a quarterback last season.  That shoudl have taught them a lesson – carry more than two quarterbacks on the active roster.  One thing that’s impossible to avoid is the injury bug.  It’s already struck the wide receivers with force and you never know.  Is carrying only two quarterbacks on the roster a result of keeping both John Kasay and Rhys Lloyd?

RB, Nick Goings:  We already know what Goings can do.  He’s a proven player who can contribute on special teams and can backup any running back.  The problem he’s facing is the youth behind him on the roster.  He’s a strong candidate to make the team and likely will.

RB, LeBrandon Toefield:  Upset predicted – cut.  He was signed for depth at the position but he’s gotten the squeeze put on him.  He’s a physical runner who could fit in well but – this is just a guess – he is gone.

RB, Decori Brimingham:  Upset predicted – he makes it.  If this team carries four running backs, I think Birmingham makes it, especially if he proves that he can contribute to special teams.  He’s looked solid and deserves a chance.  At the very least, he makes the practice squad.

G, Toniu Fonoti:  He started off training camp getting reps with the first team.  He has since given way to Keydrick Vincent.  However, he’s proven to the team that he’s here to work and that his heart is in it.  He’s a serious contender to make the roster.

G, Mackenzy Bernadeau:  Just a guess but if he makes it, it’s the practice squad.

G, Geoff Schwartz:  How many guards does the team carry?  Does Jonathan Stewart put in a good word for him since they were teammates at Oregon?  He’s got a shot as a backup but is likely a practice squad player if he’s retained.

We’ll look at the defense tomorrow.