Dolphins @ Panthers: Preseason Roundtable

The Carolina Panthers will be holding joint practices with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday and Thursday this week ahead of their second preseason game on Saturday night. Eric Roddy sat down with Brandon Croce to discuss the Panthers before this weekend’s contest.

Brandon: How has Miami Dolphins top defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh looked so far this preseason?

Eric: Do you think he is going to be able to live up to that huge contract he signed this offseason? Suh has been the most disruptive force at training camp, consistently ruining the offensive line. He will absolutely live up to his contract if he can stay healthy. He makes Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon that much better and requires a double team every single play.

Eric: Speaking of new additions, who is the most exciting Carolina Panthers’ newcomer this year?

Brandon: The most exciting will probably be a player Panthers fans, and Dolphins fans, know pretty well and that is Ted Ginn Jr. Two seasons ago, the former Ohio State Buckeye had one of his best seasons in his NFL career with the Panthers and after one season in Arizona he was brought back to Carolina. Last year, the team missed his speed on offense and his experience as a return man on special teams. Since coming back to the Panthers he looks to have the same connection with Cam Newton that he had in 2013. He should have plenty of explosive plays in this offense working out of the slot.

Brandon: Who do you think is entering 2015 with more pressure on them: Ryan Tannehill or Joe Philbin?

Eric:Definitely Philbin. Tannehill's new contract means he will be around for many years to come. Philbin on the other hand needs to make the playoffs or else the team may find a new direction. He has gone 7-9. 8-8 and 8-8 in his first three seasons and has no more excuses.

Eric: Is Devin Funchess the real deal? Does he have a chance to start?

Brandon: Let me answer the second question first and say yes he has a chance to start. I think the emergence of Corey Brown this preseason has hurt those chances but he will be a big part of this offense whether he starts or not. As for if he is the real deal, it remains to be seen. He is a huge target and has incredible size that is coveted at wide receiver in the NFL. At 6'4" he will create problems for cornerbacks in the NFL. For him to become a dominant wide receiver though he still has some work to do. After the first preseason game I wrote about Funchess' performance and while he made some incredible catches he had a few drops. I don't expect him to come in and have the same impact as some of the rookie wide receivers last year but given time, and if he corrects the drops issue, he will be a good player in the future.

Brandon: Who is one player that Panthers fans should be watching for on Saturday night who has looked really good in training camp and the first preseason game?

Eric: Watch out for Damien Williams, the Miami Dolphins' second running back behind Lamar Miller. Williams has had an outstanding camp and is rising up the 'Fins' depth chart quickly.

Eric: Who could step up at running back for the Panthers?

Brandon: The Panthers released longtime Panther DeAngelo Williams this offseason and handed the reigns over to Jonathan Stewart, who played very well over the final quarter of 2014. However, Stewart does have some injury risk as he has struggled to stay healthy the past few seasons. The Panthers draftedCameron Artis-Payne who could help shoulder some of the load at running back. He was a workhorse for the University of Auburn last year and should be able to carry the ball 10-15 times a game. The one player who looked really good in their first preseason game was Jordan Todman. He is a smaller, quicker back who has great hands out of the backfield. He is going to be a nice change of pace back for this offense and provide Cam Newton another pass-catching weapon.

Prediction

Eric: Still being preseason, I think the panthers will win this one at home, as the dolphins like won't play their starters past the first quarter. Score: Panthers 27 - Dolphins 17

Brandon: This game will be determined in the trenches. The Dolphins have an impressive defensive line and it is going to be a tough test for this offensive line. This will be a low scoring affair but I think the Panthers will move to 2-0 in preseason. Score: Panthers 14 - Dolphins 10

FINS UP!

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