Welcome to the 5th edition of Friay Fan Mail! I’m your host, Bobby Agnese. I’ve compiled inquiries from the best Panthers fans on the web, and have answered the questions you’ve been dying to know. It’s the Q&A you can look forward to every Friday. Lets get started:
Jason Young asks: “Which personnel will be tested the most in the first preseason game vs. Buffalo, the offensive line or the secondary?”
The offensive line, no question. The completely over-hauled secondary will be challenged every week this season, but I don’t see them having too much trouble against the sophomore EJ Manuel. 4th overall pick Sammy Watkins will cause mis-matches in the secondary, and should not be taken lightly.
The offensive line, however, will be facing a heavy pass rush from the likes of Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams, and Kyle Williams. The Panthers last battled the Bills week 2 of the 2013 season, and were overwhelmed offensively in a close loss. Cam’s protection crew gave up SIX sacks, of which Byron Bell gave up 4.5. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bell started at LT for the first game of the preseason, seeing as he was absolutely dominated by Mario Williams on the right side last year. With All-Pro left tackle Jordan Gross leaving Carolina for retirement this offseason, it will be paramount for the Panthers offensive line to operate on all cylinders. Although the starters should only see a quarter or two, it could be their biggest test of the preseason.
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Justin Caudle asks: “Bersin is looking good in training camp. Will he make the roster?”
There is no doubt in my mind that Bersin makes the 53. Among a group of wide receivers trying to make a name for themselves, he has been a stand-out, catching everything in sight and fighting his way open. He hasn’t had a bad practice thus far, and Ricky Proehl is thoroughly impressed. It also helps that he has developed a great chemistry with Cam. With experience lacking, chemistry between Newton and his wide receivers will be the catalyst for this young offense. After practice, safety Thomas DeCoud believes that Bersin will be a ‘diamond in the rough’.
Patrick Maw asks: “Can Bell replace Gross?”
Byron Bell will never replace Gross’ talent. Jordan was consistently one of the best tackles in the league for as long as he played, and Bell has been on the bottom for his short career. However, that being said, I like the player, and
Jul 26, 2014; Spartanburg, SC, USA; Carolina Panthers tackle Byron Bell (77) drops back to protect quarterback Cam Newton (1) during training camp at Gibbs Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
teammate, that Bell is becoming. He has shown to be much better on the left side on the line, and currently has the lead for the LT position, in my opinion. More importantly, however, is the leadership role that Bell is trying to assume. He has been a great presence during practice this year, firing up his teammates and turning up the intensity. If Bell can continue to hold his own in practice, and become the offensive leader that this team desperately needs, the Panthers could be looking at their future at left tackle.
That’s a wrap! I want to thank all of you very much for submitting all of your questions for the 5th edition of Friday Fan Mail! Make sure you tune in next week, and if you have any questions you’d like me to answer next Friday, be sure to contact me through Facebook, or Twitter @bobbyagnese.