Panthers v. Steelers: Who to Watch on Offense

The Carolina Panthers are expected to have a new face when they take the field on Thursday night when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The newly-acquired Kevin Norwood is expected to make his Carolina Panthers' debut in the final preseason game. These are two other players, along with Norwood, fans should be watching for against the Steelers.

Kevin Norwood

The Carolina Panthers decided they weren’t going to wait to scour the waiver wire for help at wide receiver and made a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for Kevin Norwood. The second-year wide receiver was drafted by the Seahawks in the fourth round in 2014 and finished his rookie season with only nine receptions for 102 yards.

It is going to be interesting to see if Norwood is able to improve on his rookie season coming from an offense that threw it the least of any NFL team last year. The loss of Kelvin Benjamin and the inconsistency of Corey Brown has created a great opportunity for the former University of Alabama wide out to quickly climb the Panthers’ depth chart.

I would expect that Norwood is going to get plenty of playing time Thursday night in the final preseason game to try and get him up to speed as quickly as possible.

 

Corey Brown

On the other end of the spectrum is Corey Brown, who is coming off a horrendous performance against the New England Patriots. He finished the game with only one reception for five yards even though he was targeted seven times.

It was so bad that many fans are ready to write him off and believe he should be on the roster bubble. It may be a little quick to jump to that conclusion but he certainly needs to have a bounce back game Thursday night.

The Panthers are still desperately in need of someone to try and make up for the lost production of Benjamin. The Panthers would like rookie Devin Funchess to be that guy but he has not been able to get on the field as he deals with a nagging hamstring injury. If Funchess is able to play Thursday night, and plays well, along with a strong game from Norwood, Brown could quickly fall down the Panthers’ depth chart days before the start of the regular season.

 

Brandon Wegher

Over the first two preseason games, Brandon Wegher could have been considered the team’s offensive MVP. He seemed to be the only the Panthers’ player that was able to find the end zone regularly with three touchdowns in the first two games.

Entering training camp, he was considered a long shot to make the team with Jonathan Stewart, Fozzy Whittaker, Cameron Artis-Payne and Jordan Todman on the roster. After the two preseason games, the chances looked much better with him playing well and Whittaker struggling.

Then any momentum he had seemed to disappear against the Patriots with Whittaker rushing for 19 yards on three carries compared to Wegher’s seven rushing yards on two carries.

Generally in the fourth preseason games, starters sit out the entire game or play very sparingly which means that Fozzy Whittaker and Brandon Wegher should get plenty of time to play. The undrafted rookie out of Iowa will need a strong performance if he hopes to earn one of those final roster spots.

Follow me on Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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