The Panthers take the field today at Levi's Stadium today and I'll be keeping an eye on three players specifically. Sure Christian McCaffrey will like dazzle and distract us in a good way but I want to know about the following players: (Give this story a share simply for the fact I didn't use that stupid slideshow format to waste your time in an effort to get clicks)
1) Cam Newton
After partially tearing his rotator cuff late last season, Cam tried to rehab the injury but ultimately couldn't avoid surgery. Going under the knife on March 30th butted the recovery time table right into training camp. When Cam came throwing the first five days of camp, things looked to be right on schedule. Head Coach Ron Rivera later remarked that they "may have pushed him too hard" after having to shut him down for the following two weeks. Newton only played one drive in the 3rd preseason game, only throwing the ball twice. I'm interested to see if Cam is rusty, struggles with time, and has the same bullet velocity he has had in the past. It will be interesting also to see if the Panthers moderate the offensive game plan to avoid putting too much stress on Newton's shoulder right away.
2) Daryl Worley
After having a strong finish to his rookie year and a great training camp, Daryl Worley struggled in the preseason. He bit on the double move and struggled in press-man coverage. The Panthers are pretty thin at secondary after losing backups Teddy Williams and Zack Sanchez to injury. Carolina needs Worley to continue to progress. Today will be a good day for the second-year player to get his confidence back up after hearing a lot of criticism about his preseason play. This tweet shows he's trying to filter it out, but the noise is still in his ears. Getting off to a good start against SF's #2 wide receiver, Marquise Goodwin, will go a long way into helping Worley regain that confidence and is an area Carolina simply needs to work out.
3) Matt Kalil
Big $$ Matt was brought in to protect Cam Newton's blindside. The #4 overall selection by the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 and brother of Panthers center, Matt Kalil, took the league by storm his rookie year. He looked like the quintessential franchise left tackle until he didn't the next four years. Struggling through injury, playing on a bad unit, and playing poorly himself made the $55 million free agent acquisition a controversial one among Panthers fans. Kalil was limited by a groin injury that Rivera tried to mask initially as him struggling with the humidity. It immediately set off concerns among those who didn't think Kalil was the right fit in Carolina. Kalil played well throughout the preseason, particularly in that opening game against the Texans when he had to face Jadeveon Clowney. Kalil will have his work cut out for him today as he faces a rotation of Tank Carridine and Solomon Thomas. Carridine is the starter and is playing motivated with the #2 overall pick on his heels in the rotation. Kalil, however, has a chance to show off some off some of that veteran savvy against a set of young defensive ends who may not be all that polished yet.
By Tony Dunn
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