The Carolina Panthers started off the preseason with a bit of a whimper after a 26-13 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday, August 12, 2012. The starters held their own fairly well in the limited time they were on the field, but the team certainly looked a step slow throughout most of the contest. As a huge Carolina Panthers fan myself, I was hoping for a bit more from my up and coming team. Still, the preseason is not necessarily indicative of what we will see during the regular season. There were several things that stood out to me while watching the game.
Luke Kuechly is as good as advertised
Going into this game, I knew that he was a talented linebacker with a nose for the football. I watched him for years at Boston College. What I learned on Saturday night was that he was not intimidated by the NFL. Kuechly looked like a guy that had been playing for years at the professional level. He was around the football constantly and his instincts were insanely sharp. He will be awesome with Jon Beason playing beside him.
The Panthers still have special teams coverage issues
I realize that the first preseason game is not indicative of what you end up with most of the time, but this is a recurring theme. The Panthers have major issues where covering kicks are concerned. Not only did they allow rookie Trindon Holliday to return a touchdown on a kickoff 90 yards, but they also gave up a couple of other long returns to Houston. At least the Panthers will be getting an influx of talent when the roster is set and backups start to help fill in problem areas.
The Panthers have improved the special teams return game
Joe Adams is absolutely insane. This guy is going to be a nightmare for the opposition and occasionally one for the Panthers. His back and forth return on Saturday that ended up as a 34-yard gain could just as easily been a 20-yard loss. The return was incredible and showed what he can do, but those types of plays will eventually catch up to him. The return teams were pretty solid all day with Kealoha Pilares and even Armanti Edwards looking decent. Joe Adams will become a huge star in the return game though.
Louis Murphy is a potential star
If Murphy can stay on the field and out of the trainer's room, he will produce in this offense. He is too fast and talented to not be productive with Cam Newton throwing the football. He is exactly the type of receiver that can be deadly in this offense with his speed and natural ability to find the open spot.
The defensive line is not spectacular, but will be good enough
Coming into this season, I was simply hoping that we could get enough defensive help to allow our high scoring offense to compete. It is clear we have done that much for sure. With Beason and Kuechly filling the gaps, the defensive line is not nearly as stressed as they were a year ago. All the injuries forced some guys to get experience and develop into decent linemen. Add in some strong talent like Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy and a returning Ray Edwards, and you have the makings of a solid defensive line.
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that is convinced that he will see a Super Bowl Trophy in Charlotte within five years.
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- Why the Jeff Otah to Jets Trade is Addition by Subtraction for the Carolina Panthers: Fan's Opinion
- Three Reasons the Carolina Panthers Should Bring Back Jeremy Shockey: Fan's Take
- Why Carolina Panthers Fans Should Gladly Pay for Cam Newton's Autograph: Fan's Take
- Why Newly Released Luis Castillo Would Be Great Fit in Carolina: Fan's Reaction
- Three Passing Categories Cam Newton Must Improve for 2012: Fan's Take
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