After not being pleased with their performance during the 1st joint practice session, the Panthers upped their level on intensity Friday. With that came several brush-ups on both sides of the ball, so expect Sunday’s preseason matchup to be a physical one. Matt Rhule does not plan to play many, if any, of his starters Sunday. With the first cuts of the preseason coming Tuesday, Rhule wants to make sure he has as much tape as possible on the guys who are competing for roster spots.
Pay close attention to how the offensive line looks. Consistency and depth have long been issues for Carolina in this position group. The preseason matchup against the Colts will give us a clearer picture on just where the Panthers stand.
When the Panthers released their first official depth chart earlier this week both PJ Walker and Will Grier were listed as the backup quarterback. According to Rhule, that position is still up for grabs. With Sam Darnold not taking snaps, PJ Walker will get the start Sunday, but he and Grier will split snaps. Expect the quarterback who performs better to be the clear frontrunner for the #2 slot.
For three games last year the Panthers were a “Tough Ass Football Team.” They’re going to need to carry that moniker for much longer than a few games if they want to improve on last year’s 5-11 record. Thursday Carolina was “sonned” by the Colts. Friday they let the opposition know they were no punks. Sunday’s game will set the tone for how the team will be going forward. The energy and physicality they bring will carry on to next week’s joint practices with the Ravens and ultimately the season. What tone will be set by the backups? Will they bring the needed energy from kickoff? Will they be a real “Tough Ass Football Team?”