PRESEASON GAME III: Panthers vs. Browns

On Friday, August 26, the Carolina Panthers travel up to Cleveland to face the Browns in preseason football action. The Carolina Panthers are 1-1 in the preseason, while the Cleveland Browns are 2-0 under new Head Coach Romeo Crennel. Can the Carolina Panthers come back after a disappointing loss to the Giants and issue the Browns their first Preseason loss? We will all find out this Friday when the Cleveland Browns host the Carolina Panthers for some Friday Night Football.

"These guys did well all camp," Coach Fox said after the final practice of Training Camp on Wednesday. "I told them that this is as good a camp as I have been associated with. We've laid the foundation and now we just have to continue to get better. From Day One, we might have had one bad practice out of 39. I think guys worked really hard and we got better. We had no issues off the field. Guys took care of business and they were focused."

Several Panthers players have ties to the state of Ohio:
Nick Goings – Goings played high school football in Ohio and spent two seasons at Ohio State University before transferring to the University of Pittsburgh.

Jamal Robertson – A Dayton native who was named Ohio Player of the Year during his senior year of high school and played collegiate for Ohio Northern, setting records in several different categories.

Chris Gamble – Attended Ohio State and was co-MVP of the 2002 national championship team.

Drew Carter – Attended Ohio State and also attended high school in Ohio.

Jason Kyle – selected in the 1999 expansion draft by the Browns.

Key Match up #1- The Panthers Turnover Ratio vs. a revamped Defense for the Browns.
After a brilliant start to the year for the Panthers, who committed no turnovers against the Washington Redskins, the Panthers committed six turnovers against the New York Giants in week 2 of the Preseason. John Fox football is based on mistake free football and the Panthers should come out with a vengeance against the Browns, proving that their lackluster, sloppy play was an aberration. The Browns have played well thus far in preseason, only allowing 14 points to the Giants and 13 points to the Lions. Cleveland's defense notched 3 interceptions and forced 4 fumbles against the Lions last week, and totaled 5 sacks the previous week against the Giants.

Key Match up #2- Browns QB Trent Dilfer vs. Panthers Secondary.
After giving up 2 long bombs to Eli Manning and the Giants, this will be an interesting match-up to see if the Panthers Secondary can redeem themselves and play tight coverage and tackle well. The Secondary needs to play more aggressively and force more turnovers. Trent Dilfer and Charlie Frye played well last week against the Lions, as Dilfer completed 9 of 13 for 136 yards and a touchdown, and Frye completed 13 of 19 passes for 91 yards, a touchdown and an interception. They'll look to pick on Panthers rookie safety Thomas Davis in coverage, as Davis has been shuffled from one position to another throughout camp.

Of Interest on Carolina's side of the ball:

Second string defense/defensive line
The New York Giants offensive line manhandled the Panthers defensive line in last Saturdays game, The Panthers were unable to get any type of pressure on QB Tim Hasselback in the 3rd and 4th quarters making the game seemingly out of reach. It could be because of two things, the Giants 2nd string offensive line is that good or the Panthers 2nd string defense is that bad. Keep an eye on this and hope they are able to do a better job against Cleveland's 2nd string offense.

Cuts coming
The Cleveland game could give us an early sign of who is staying and who will be cut during next week's cut date. It is going to be very tough to have to send 25 individuals packing their bags looking for another job on another team. Two areas of note are at Wide Receiver and Running back, where the Panthers seem to have a great deal of talent and not enough spots for them all. Some very talented players will be sent packing, to find their fame and fortune elsewhere.

Stephen Davis
Stephen Davis probably will not suit up this week against Cleveland, even though he returned to practice this week. The Panthers plan on bringing him along slowly, and he should get some carries next week against the Steelers, barring a setback.

Julius Peppers
Peppers has an injured right foot, and likely will not play against the Browns this week. It's not believed to be serious, and is more of a precautionary measure.

Panther Insider Top Stories