Panthers v. Patriots: Who to Watch on Offense

The Carolina Panthers are getting ready for their third preseason game against the New England Patriots. The third preseason game has long been considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season. The starters generally see extended playing time in this game. These are three players on offense fans should be watching for Friday.

Brandon Wegher

There has not been a better offensive player on the Carolina Panthers this preseason than Wegher. The rookie running back has looked very impressive over the past two games averaging five yards per rushing attempt, 49 total receiving yards and three total touchdowns.

There is no question that Wegher has produced this preseaosn but the concern is that he has been picking up these stats against the second and third string defenses. It will be interesting to see when Wegher gets in the game and if he gets any playing time against the Patriots first-team defense.

The Panthers’ coaching staff is going to have a tough decision at running back this year with Wegher, as well as Jordan Todman, having strong preseasons. It would make sense for the coaches to see how the undrafted rookie looks against the first-team defense to gauge whether he is this good or just taking advantage of weaker competition.

 

Devin Funchess

The second round rookie wide receiver saw an increased work load in practice on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s David Newton. Funchess missed last week’s game due to a hamstring injury but the coaching staff hopes he will be ready to go Friday night.

The loss of Kelvin Benjamin has opened up an opportunity for another wide receiver to step into the starting lineup but Funchess will need to get on the field to earn that spot. One player that he will have to compete with is Jarrett Boykin, who has had played well this preseason.

Last week against the Dolphins, Boykin caught six passes for 53 yards. The former Green Bay Packer at one time was thought of as a key to the high-powered Packers’ offense but was surpassed last year by Davante Adams.

Right now Boykin probably has the inside track for that starting wide receiver job over Funchess, mainly due to the fact that he is able to be on the field. This will be an important game for the former Michigan Wolverine.

 

Daryl Williams

Another injury that has opened up playing time for a rookie is the knee injury to center Ryan Kalil. The Panthers have moved starting right tackle Mike Remmers inside to play the position which has presented an opportunity for rookie Daryl Williams at right tackle.

The former Oklahoma Sooner has played incredibly well so far and is actually the highest-rated offensive tackle in preseason by Pro Football Focus. The Panthers knew when drafting Williams that they were getting one of the better run-blocking tackles in the draft.

The pass blocking of Williams is what has set him apart and really turned some heads. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams has yet to allow a single sack, hit or QB hurry through the first two games. If Williams gets extended playing time, it will be a great chance for him to prove to the coaching staff that he should be considered for a starting role.

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