What you should look for in the Panthers' preseason game against Baltimore Thursday night.
Preseason Week 3: Carolina Panthers (1-1) vs. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Thursday, August 22, 2013
M&T Bank Stadium
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Weather: 84 degrees at kickoff with 20% chance of precipitation and 8 MPH winds
Last Week's Results:
Carolina Panthers: L 14-9 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Baltimore Ravens: W 27-23 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Jon Beason (Questionable- Knee), Jonathan Stewart (Out- Ankle), Mike Tolbert (Out- Hamstring), Armanti Edwards (Out- Hamstring), Domenik Hixon (Out- Hamstring)
What to Watch For:
1. Cam Newton Setting a Foundation
Newton's preseason showings have been a matter of hot and cold. The third-year quarterback has completed 11 of his 23 attempts with 128 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
At times, Newton has looked solid on his throws and in his decision-making. He has, however, suffered from a few instances of airmail and a lack of protection up front.
Given that Week 3 of the preseason is the game predominantly played by the starters, the Panthers would love to see their quarterback come out a bit more crisp this time around. Although this is, again, just an exhibition game, a solid turnout by Newton would give the offense a nice foundation to work on come Week 1.
The Panthers cannot afford yet another slow start to their season. Changing that around starts and ends under center with Newton.
2. Barometer for the Defense
Starters on the field or not, the Baltimore Ravens' offense has clicked the past two weeks. In their two victories, the defending champs have averaged 35.5 points and 290.5 yards of total offense.
Thursday night's matchup should be a nice measuring stick for where the Panthers defense currently stands. One of main focuses will sit in the middle of the line with Dwan Edwards and rookies Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. Lotulelei, who did admit to having trouble last week with the Eagles' high-paced offense, could continue to build on his rather strong preseason.
Eyes will also continue to be set on the team's cornerback competition. Josh Norman, who has three interceptions in two games, may very well solidify his jump of Captain Munnerlyn as the team's No. 2 corner with another good outing.
Outside linebacker Jon Beason may see some action as well. The two-time All-Pro practiced in full pads for the first time this summer after recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
3. Ted Ginn Jr. Finally Gets His Chance
Ginn, who was brought in to help the long-lasting return problems in Carolina, was set to take back a few punts last week. But Eagles punter Brad Wing put just one of his four punts into play. (Rookie running back Kenjon Barner fielded the lone punt to a fair catch.)
The kick return specialist should see a lot more opportunities this week. Although the Panthers have thrown quite a few names out to take back kicks, Ginn Jr. is just about a certainty to be their man to start the regular season.
Carolina has had trouble in the return game for quite a few seasons. The seven-year wideout will definitely serve as an upgrade from past years.
- The Panthers are 9-9 all-time during Week 3 of the preseason.
- Carolina and Baltimore's last preseason meeting came in 2010. The Ravens won 17-12 in Baltimore.
- In last year's Week 3 preseason outing, Newton went 6-of-15 with 60 yards and a touchdown against the Jets.