As the Carolina Panthers take on the Baltimore Ravens tonight in Baltimore in Preseason Game 3, fans will we watching to see if key questions are answered. Cuts will be coming in a few days, and the Panthers need to make some key decisions on who makes this team and who doesn’t.
1) Will this offense do anything of note?
The Panthers offense has been lukewarm at best under Mike Shula through two games. Last week they failed to find the endzone. They’ve got to show ability to move the ball tonight in what amounts to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Shula, who got the Offensive Coordinator job due to “continuity” of the offense for Cam Newton, has changed the offense to be more of a running offense — yet due to injury at the Fullback position, we haven’t seen many runs by the backs with a lead blocker. Will this change? Will the Panthers be able to run the ball effectively?
2) Will the Offensive Line give Cam time?
With so many question marks along the offensive line, will these guys be able to protect Cam and give him time to throw? Will Cam make good decisions with the ball? Does Cam hold onto the ball too long, or is the line not capable of holding blocks long enough for Cam to make a decision and throw?
3) Is Ted Ginn Jr worth keeping?
If we had to answer this question right now, it’d be no. But with Hixon, Edwards and Adams out for tonight’s game, Ginn should get ample opportunity to show he’s an NFL WR. Rumor has it that Ginn should return kicks tonight, as well, but if this team doesn’t have the blockers, does it matter if you have a dynamic return man or not? Someone should tell the Panthers that running straight into the defending team’s tacklers is not a strategy.
4) How will Beason look, if he plays?
Rumore also has it that Jon Beason will have his first game time of the preseason tonight. Last time he lined up at outside linebacker, he wasn’t worth what they’re paying him. Sure, it’s a good idea to try Beason on the outside, but the guy is a MLB, and his recent contract restructuring that will allow him to be a free agent after this season indicates that both the team and Beason himself recognize that as a fact. Still, at least for 2013, and as long as Luke Kuechly is healthy, Beason is an outside linebacker. Will he be a stud or a dud?
5) Will Josh Norman strengthen his claim to start?
Norman, who has three interceptions through two games, has looked like the best corner on the team so far this preseason. Will he strengthen that claim or will he fade against the Super Bowl Champions?
What are your questions heading into tonight’s game against the Ravens?