The third preseason game is commonly treated as a “regular season dress rehearsal” by NFL teams and Thursday night will be no different as the Panthers travel to the Sunshine State to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here are the big storylines Panthers fans should watch for during Thursday night’s game:
1. Cam Newton Will Start in Jacksonville
Head Coach Ron Rivera told NFL Network’s Tiffany Blackmon, “We’ll see how the flow of the game goes and how long he’ll play.”
Spoke w/ coach Ron Rivera. Told me the plan is to start Cam against JAX. "We'll see how the flow of the game goes and how long he'll play."— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) August 23, 2017
Newton will get his chance to shake some of the rust off after sitting out the first two weeks of the preseason, as well as the majority of training camp with his shoulder recovery. It will be interesting to see how the 2015 NFL MVP looks with new slot receiver Russell Shepard as well as rookie running back Christian McCaffrey.
2. Rookie Curtis Samuel Will Make His Debut
Although Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula will not show much of his playbook in a preseason game, it will still be interesting to see where Samuel lines up. He has the ability to play in the slot, out wide, and even at running back. The versatility that both Samuel and fellow rookie Christian McCaffrey bring will allow Shula a lot of freedom to showcase his creativity this season with his play calling.
3. James Bradberry vs. Allen Robinson
4. The Panthers Run Defense vs. Jacksonville Running Backs
Last week the Panthers (without Luke Kuechly) fared pretty well against Derrick Henry, holding him to 36 yards on 16 carries (2.3 YPC). Can they do the same Thursday night against Ivory and Yeldon?
5. The Panthers Offensive Line vs. Jacksonville Pass Rush
The Jaguars boast a solid front seven that can rush the passer, so will the Panthers offensive line protect Newton in his first preseason action?
Thursday August 24, 2017 7:30 PM ET
Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
EverBank Field Jacksonville, FL