5 key observations from Panthers second preseason game at Patriots

(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker
(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker /
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What were the key observations to take from the Carolina Panthers’ second preseason outing at the New England Patriots on Friday evening?

After tempers flared between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots during joint practices, it was time for the two sides to lock horns once again in a preseason contest. Matt Rhule asked for his players to fight for everything this offseason, but the head coach got more than he bargained for throughout the week in Foxboro thanks to multiple skirmishes and bad blood almost from start to finish.

It’s been a long time since the Panthers had this sort of mentality. Harnessing it in the right way will be crucial when competitive games begin, but it doesn’t appear as if they are going to be the walkover many anticipate with some additional edge across the roster.

Carolina is now a few short weeks away from taking the field at Bank of America Stadium against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. This was arguably the final time for some further down the depth chart to stake their claim for involvement as preparations reach their conclusion.

With this in mind, here are some key observations from the Panthers’ game at Gillette Stadium on Friday.

Key Observation No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Bill Belichick /

Carolina Panthers took a cautious approach

Following such physical joint practices and with additional injury worries, the Carolina Panthers took a cautious approach with their lineup in Week 2 of the preseason. Almost every starter was rested for the contest, leaving fringe figures and rotational pieces taking center stage in pursuit of their own individual objectives.

With one final warmup game left and more cuts looming next week, this was one last audition for many to force their way into the team’s plans. Some made a lasting impression that should serve them well, while others wilted under the spotlight.

It’ll be interesting to see what decisions are made in the wake of this game. And there are still some kinks to iron out before things get more serious on September 11.