Carolina Panthers Week 16 preview at the Indianapolis Colts.
The Carolina Panthers second half collapse continued last week with a home loss to the now, NFC leading Seattle Seahawks. Three more interceptions and a fumble from backup quarterback Kyle Allen also has interim coach Perry Fewell turning to rookie Will Grier for the final two games of regular season play in hopes of stopping a six game losing streak.
Grier will get an Indianapolis Colts team in a somewhat similar situation. After the surprise retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck back in August, the Colts turned to backup Jacoby Brissett and found themselves 5-3 at the midpoint, same as the Panthers. Since, both teams have struggled to win football games as Indianapolis has lost six of their last seven.
On Sunday, someone will leave Lucas Oil Stadium victorious but both teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention rendering the outcome near pointless other than for draft pick positioning and player evaluation. It is here where Grier can make an impact.
2019 SEASON: CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-9) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-8)
KICKOFF: Sunday, December 22 at 1:00 PM ET
TV: FOX (Broadcast Coverage Map)
LOCATION: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)
LAST MEETING: 29-26 (OT), PANTHERS – November 2, 2015 (WEEK 8)
WHAT TO WATCH:
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All eyes will be on Grier when Carolina has the football on Sunday. His decision making and ability to display some type of progress through nearly a year of practice from his preseason snaps should provide a glimpse into exactly what the Panthers can expect from their third-round pick.
Given the amount of questions general manager Marty Hurney must answer regarding the quarterback position – how Grier looks in a real game could play into his decision making process.
Kyle Allen, who the Panthers have relied on this season can be retained by virtue of being an exclusive rights free agent, despite his contract expiring but Hurney could also pass. Cam Newton has one-year remaining on his current deal but is unexpected to return unless a new long-term contract is signed … a risky situation given his recent health issues. Grier’s rookie deal runs through the 2022 season, so if he is at least capable of providing backup services over that time period may have to be determined in the next few games.
Given the gravity of this quarterback situation in Carolina, that’s definitely not a lot of time.