After a slow start against the Buffalo Bills and missing the second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, Charles Tillman showed he can still play cornerback at a high level. The 14-year veteran accounted for one of the Carolina Panthers’ defense two interceptions when he was able to wrestle the ball away from Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson.
There was some question marks about whether or not Tillman could contribute on this defense or he would be a liability on the field. He is 34 years old and has missed 22 games the past two seasons with two injuries to the same tricep. The Panthers were willing to take the risk bringing Tillman aboard because he has experience playing in Ron Rivera’s defense.
If this is the final preseason game for Tillman (most teams sit their starters and veterans in the final preseason game) then he certainly ended on a high note. He should, as well as the coaching staff, feel good about the idea of Tillman starting opposite Josh Norman.
The other question mark on the Panthers’ defense may have also been answered last night thanks to the performance by Kony Ealy. The team was trying to find the person to start opposite Charles Johnson and with a majority of the starting defensive line missing the entire preseason, it made it much harder.
The thought throughout preseason was the second year defensive end Kony Ealy could be the guy to complete this defensive line thanks to a strong finish at the end of the regular season (three sacks over final three games). Then at the start of the training camp, Ealy struggled and it looked like the Panthers may be back to square one.
The last two preseason games though has been a different story as he has gotten steady pressure on the opposing quarterbacks and has a sack in both games. The Panthers have to be thankful for the recent improvement by Ealy because at this point they don’t have many other options for the starting defensive end. It would be surprising if Ealy isn’t named the starter for Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There may not have been a player, on either side of the field, who had a worse game than Corey Brown. This was his chance to shine and cement himself as one of Cam Newton’s top targets with Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess out.
Brown had plenty of chances though with seven targets but was only able to catch one of those passes for five yards. There was at least two or three passes that hit his hands and should have been catches. Brown’s place on the 53-man roster is all but guaranteed however he could see his playing time affected if he continues to drop passes like he did Friday night.
Thanks to a few injuries last year, Adarius Glanton finished the year as the starter. Unfortunately for Glanton, he has struggled this preseason and with the additions at linebacker he may find himself off the regular season roster.
Pro Football Focus has given him an overall rating of -5.3 through the first three preseason games and is near the bottom of the league among outside linebackers. The Panthers added three linebackers this offseason (Shaq Thompson, David Mayo and Jason Trusnik) and have one returning from injury (A.J. Klein).
If Glanton makes it through the first round of cuts this week, he will have a lot of ground to make up in the final preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers if he hopes to make the Panthers roster.
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