Charlotte, N.C.- Finally the preseason has come to an end, with the Carolina Panthers finishing 3-1, only dropping the finale where coach Miller sat just about every starter including Devin Funchess and recently acquired Jaron Brown. “I wanted to let a couple of the younger guys get full game reps in, Heeney, Samuel, Byrd, and Shepard. Last season we suffered a lot of injuries and i hate to admit it, but i didn’t do a good enough job at having the backups ready to come in and produce at a high level.” 7th round pick Sanchez Heeney aka the flash( 20 reception 252 yards and 4 tds) has been having an absolutely wonderful preseason and has played his way onto the field opposite of Devin Funchess as Jaron Brown will be manning the slot for majority of the season. At the combine he ran a 4.35 40 and it shows! this boy can fly and i cant wait to see how he develops with strong armed QB Cam Newton this season. “These kids can play” speaking with Cam after a walk through to get ready for the season opener. ” I’m definitely excited to get this season started at put last season in the rear view mirror, last season we didn’t have nearly as much big play potential as we got this year, all these young receivers can score any time they touch the ball, they’re all so quick and explosive in space . They’re going to have to work on the more finer things of being a receiver, like catching, route running, and getting off the line quick, but they got the speed part down. I’m going to do my best to avoid turnovers and just try to throw them a perfect ball every time they can just GUAGI.
” In case you were wondering GUAGI stands for Go Up and Get It. The offense looks leaps and bounds better then last years, except when you look at the rushing stats. It might be because coach Miller has opted to sit McCaffery in every preseason game, and in week 1 it turned out to be a good move. He let rookie Sherwin Cromartie-Smith get the starting nod and first play of the game, torn shoulder, out 8 weeks. Looks like the Panthers dodged a bullet there, had it been McCaffery we might be having a different conversation to start the season. With an extremely young core, only Brown is the old man of the group at age 28, so the offense is going to have to lean on veterans like Greg Olsen who led the team in receiving yards last year, going into his 11th season, and Superman Cam who is going into his 9th season. So we are definitely going to see if “these kids can play”, and they are going to need to play well, because the defense might struggle this year after coming off of an amazing top 5 total defense last season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the starters have been out for most of the game, and it will be interesting to see how they deal with the sudden retirement of start LB Thomas Davis Sr. ” He was a leader on and off the field, i’m happy for him to go out on his own terms though, well miss him for sure and we’ll need some of the young guys to step up.” Star MLB Luke Kuechley speaking after the walk through “Ya we have been struggling during pre season, but thats what its for to help the guys develop, i have all the faith in coach Miller that when the season starts he’ll have us ready to win.” This defense has been gashed through the air especially this pre season, but they still only averaged giving up 15 points per game only, its a bend but don’t break type of defense, that will need to create more turnovers to help them be successful. In week 2 they signed FA Jonathan Casillas to fill in as linebacker and he was having a good game, but unfortunately after making a tackle he got tangled up in the pile and he ended up fracturing his upper arm, good news is he should be back by week 5 of the regular season, to help the defense out. That being said since taking over as head coach of the Panther coach Miller has always brought a good defense in and they usually are able to keep the team in the game no matter what the offense looks like on a week to week basis, but ready or not here comes those hated New Orleans Saints and this team would love to start the season off with a huge road victory against a division rival.