The Carolina Panthers face off in the first preseason game against the Chicago Bears Thursday August 8th at 8:00 PM
Panthers open the preseason at Chicago, where Head Coach Ron Rivera spent 18 years as a player, broadcaster and coach.
Fans have high hopes for this upcoming season after the team delievered an underwhelming 7-9 record last year. The team has stacked their defensive depth chart with big name players who can just flat-out ball. Not only is the defense stacked with talent, but the offense is too. From top to bottom, promising young talent capped with seasoned veterans like six-time Pro-Bowler Gerald McCoy and elite pass-rusher Mario Addison. Second-year players, Torrey Smith and Darius Wright have a combined 17 years in the league and showcase their respective abilities in valuable ways.
Who will we see this week?
Initially, Riveria announced that all four “should” play against Chicago, per Joe Person at the Athletic. However, he changed his mind Tuesday and Newton will not play this week. Kyle Allen is set to start in his place.
Looking at the recently released unofficial depth chart, the order may go like this: Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Taylor Heinicke.
Luke Kuechly, who still hasn't participated in full-contact drills will not play Thursday. Kuechly continues to wear the Q-collar, an experimental device the inventor hopes will help prevent concussions, around his neck, as he has since 2017. Coach Ron Rivera said there's a "premium'' more than ever on keeping players healthy during the preseason.
A few players to watch this week:
5-foot-11, 194-pound Curtis Samuel has been the star of training camp. Samuel scored seven touchdowns last season and plans to make long catches and show improvement as a third-year wide receiver. Christian McCaffrey says Samuel has rare speed. He's right. Samuel was one of the fastest players at the 2017 NFL combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds. Coach Rivera says the former Ohio State Star is light years ahead of where he was when he entered the league.
Dennis Daley's hard work has taken him from a two-star recruit to manning the left side of the first-team line as Panther's experiment with different combinations during training camp. This 24-year-old 6th round pick from the University of South Carolina can fill a critical spot as a utility lineman. He is currently listed as the backup right guard. However, it appears the Panthers want to ultimately develop Daley into their go-to swingman. The 6-foot-6 offensive lineman told reporters Monday that he is learning to play four positions: left tackle, left guard, right guard, and right tackle.
Dennis Daley says he is learning LT, LG, RG and RT in camp. All of them. That’s a lot to put on a rookie but it’s clear the Panthers want to try to ultimately develop him into their go-to swingman. pic.twitter.com/AsKikVYobp— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 5, 2019
Brian Burns is a first-round pick out of Florida State slected 16th overall. He was one of the last first-round draftees to sign when he put pen to paper July 24th after arriving at Wofford College for Panthers training camp. He ranked been comapred to a superhero. Standing 6-foot-5 with a 84-inch wingspan earned him the nickname "Spiderman." He has shown a lot of promise in coverage at training camp and is listed second behind Addison at LOLB in the unofficial depth chart. The Panthers needed a player who can get to the quarterback and thats what they got in Burns.
I was asking about Brian Burns’ leg but RR took the opportunity to make it clear how impressed he has been with the rookie. pic.twitter.com/njeibgD74V— Sheena Quick (@Sheena_Marie3) August 5, 2019
Preseason football is an important opportunity for players who are fighting to earn a roster spot. Thursday's game will offer fans a closer look at the depth of this promising roster heading into September.