What to Watch for in Panthers Training Camp
This week players will be heading out to Wofford College for Panthers Training Camp, and there are many storylines to follow and get excited for. A lot is at stake this season and head coach Matt Rhule’s job and season could be contingent on a successful training camp. So without further ado here are the top three things to watch in Panthers Training Camp.
The front office was able to add Baker Mayfield via trade which cranks up the heat on Sam Darnold for this years QB battle. Prior to the trade the starting position was his to lose in a competition versus rookie Matt Corral, and PJ Walker. But Mayfield has a better career thus far compared to Darnold and definitely becomes the favorite to start vs his former team in week one. Darnold had OTA’s to learn Mcadoo’s new offense, but Mayfield has been known to have a photographic like memory which should help him as he plays catch up in training camp.
Meanwhile third round rookie Matt Corral who OC Ben Mcadoo hand picked is talented and could make things interesting. While he is still trying to grasp an NFL offense, he is still the future of the franchise. According to the Charlotte Observer prior to acquiring Mayfield “the Panthers did call Corral to inform him of the trade and ensured him that he is still their future of the position, according to a league source”. So ideally the Panthers front office prefers Corral to have the option to sit for the year to learn and get ready. Barring any injury or season meltdown by both veterans, Corral should have the time he needs to develop properly.
Ben Mcadoo’s Offense
For the last two years the Panthers offense was called by Joe Brady who was a key part in LSU’s magical run in 2020. While we saw some of that magic, the offense for the most part could not adjust when they needed and execute when they should. Enter in Ben Mcadoo, the former Giants head coach and offensive coordinator takes the reigns and brings a more complex system to Carolina.
WR DJ Moore recently spoke on this on the Rich Eisen Show saying that the “terminology is hard, but it’s going to work in the long run”, and “I feel like it’s better, like, structure for us going into this year than previous years”.
So, with a new offense, fresh new QBs (Mayfield, and Corral), and having Christian McCaffery back the future looks much better for Carolina this year. I can’t wait to see this offense when it starts to click.
Battle in the Trenches
Speaking of new offense, we have a new offensive line and they will be key to the success of our new look offense. We also lost some key players on the defensive side namely OLB/DE Haason Reddick, and DT Morgan Fox . So this years training camp will feature some interesting battles in the trenches.
On the offensive side we have a major battle for who will play left tackle and left guard. Rookie first round pick Ikem Ekwonu is penciled in as the favorite to play LT, but he will battle second year tackle Brady Christensen who showed some promise at the end of last season. Between the two of them, they will most likely play on the left side of the line as starters, Ekwonu at LT and Christensen at LG.
Across on to the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers have to replace the production of Haason Reddick. Look for some of our young players to step up, namely DE Yeter Gross-Matos, and DE Marquis Haynes Sr. The Panthers also lost starting DT Morgan Fox, but we signed DT Matt Loannidis who should do a nice job replacing Fox.
With a new look offensive scheme, upgraded offensive line, and a QB battle, the Panthers Offense looks to be much improved from last years unit. I can’t wait to see what we have in new QB’s Matt Corral, and Baker Mayfield, and watch the growth of our young WRs. With an improved line we should be able to see more plays down the field too.
On defense we have the return of last years first round pick Jaycee Horn who showed major promise in his first three games. We will see an improved secondary with the addition of S Xavier Woods who should pair nicely with S Jeremy Chinn. While we did lose some key players I don’t think we will see much of a drop off.
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