What are some individual battles to keep a close eye on when the Carolina Panthers take part in two joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens at Wofford College?
No sooner has the first preseason game come to a conclusion, the Carolina Panthers are already gearing up for yet more joint practices as preparations gather pace for the 2021 season. Matt Rhule’s men welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Wofford College in Spartanburg on August 18 and 19, which should be another stern test of their credentials before competitive action begins.
The Panthers will be hoping that more familiar surroundings bring better performances than what they demonstrated at the Indianapolis Colts during scrimmages. Rhule was far from happy with the way his team performed overall and although there were some nice moments in their first warmup game, there is much work to do in pursuit of progression.
Baltimore has ambitious plans to win the AFC despite residing in arguably the league’s toughest division. They’ve certainly strengthened their options this offseason, but failing when it matters most in the postseason is a problem that needs to be eradicated to take the next step.
Without further ado, here are five position battles to watch closely when the Panthers and Ravens lock horns during practice.
Battle No. 1
Keith Taylor Jr. vs. Sammy Watkins
With free-agent signing A.J. Bouye still injured and unavailable for the first two games due to suspension, someone else in the cornerback room needs to step up and make a difference. Keith Taylor Jr. could fit this category judging by his efforts so far, but don’t be surprised if this comes with a steep learning curve right out of the gate.
The fifth-round pick thrives in press coverage, which is something the Panthers might utilize over the first fortnight until Bouye is permitted to return. Taylor will get all he can handle lining up against Sammy Watkins, who remains productive and consistent despite seemingly being around forever.
Taylor should relish this challenge whenever he goes up against Watkins. He might not come out on top all the time, but the experience is sure to serve him well.