Panthers vs. Redskins: Preseason Game I

The 2005 NFL Season gets underway this Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, as the Washington Redskins take on the Carolina Panthers in a series that has always been highly-contested.

Panthers vs. Redskins

8pm, Saturday, August 13 2005
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

Game Notes
This is the fourth consecutive season the Redskins and Panthers have met in the preseason. Former Panthers QB Steve Beuerlein and WFNZ's Gary Williams will be the television team for the Panthers. Mick Mixon, Eugene Robinson and Jim Szoke handle the radio side as the Panthers return to 1110 WBT AM after a stint on 99.7 FM.

The Panthers have currently won 9 straight preseason games, going back to 2002 against Cleveland. It is currently the longest streak in the league.

The Game has several local connections:
- Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs is a NC Native and owns a NASCAR race team based in the state.

- Don Breux, the Redskins Offensive Coordinator spent 8 seasons as the Panthers TE's coach.

- Panthers OC Dan Henning went to two Super Bowls as the Redskins' Offensive Coordinator.

- Panthers WR Rod Gardner played his entire career with the Redskins since being drafted in the first round of the 2001 draft.

- Panthers RB Stephen Davis played his entire career with the Redskins before coming to Carolina in 2003.

- Redskins CB Artrell Hawkins spent one season with the Panthers.

Panthers RB DeShaun Foster scored on his first ever NFL carry – a 61-yard run down the sideline, stiff-arming Redskins Legend Darrell Green to the ground in the process.

Gardner Faces his old team
Saturday will mark the first time Rod Gardner has lined-up against his former team, the Washington Redskins.

"It will be tough going up against my old friends but it's going to be exciting to go out and compete against them," said Gardner. "I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I can do a lot of the same types of things Muhammad did. This is a great situation. I've got a chance to go out and compete, come in fresh. Right now, I'd probably say I know 80 or 85 percent of the offense. It's just if they put something new in, then I might have to go back over it. But the majority of the stuff we have in now, I'm good with. But for now, I'm going to just come out and compete and leave it up to the coaching staff to determine who they want to start and who they want to play."

Coach Fox likes what he's seen in practice so far.

"He was a good get for us," Fox told the media. "He's big and physical and not afraid to stick his nose in there. He likes the physical part of the game. Every time I see him out there, he's jumping up, making a big play. He's getting more and more comfortable day by day."

Gardner will likely start opposite of Steve Smith, and may continue with the second string to get more game reps with the team.

New Faces Make their debuts
Panther fans will finally see recently acquired players such as Mike Wahle, Idrees Bashir, Marlon McCree, Chris Draft and all of their 2005 draft picks in action for the first time on Saturday evening. Newcomers Ken Lucas and Tupe Peko likely will be held out of the game.

Wahle will add more punch on the left side of the ball, and should be an effective blocker in the run game. Bashir and McCree will get plenty of playing time with starting FS Mike Minter on the shelf with a sprained knee.

Panthers will honor Mills at Halftime
The Panthers will retire #51 in honor of the late Sam Mills, one of the first true icons of the Panthers organization. It is the first time any Panther player has had their number retired. Mills played three seasons with the Panthers and coached the linebackers for six more after serving as a scout for one.

What to watch for:
- Offensive line; Have they gelled, or are they close to gelling at all? How will Wharton do as the left tackle, and will the Panthers be able to run to both the left and right in 2005?

- Thomas Davis; Where does he play the majority of minutes? How will he do in coverage as a safety?

- WRs; Will Drew Carter step up and grab that 5th WR spot, or will Aaron Boone or Efrem Hill outplay him?

- Punter; which punter, Jason Baker or Tom Rouen, will step up and claim the open spot?

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