Panthers Update: Game notes, look ahead

Is there a battle brewing between Adam Seward and rookie Dan Connor for the backup middle linebacker spot?

With Jon Beason nursing an ankle injury, the Panthers called upon Adam Seward to fill in at middle linebacker on Saturday night and he responded well.
Seward is probably going to make the roster, but given his history of injuries and the presence of rookie Dan Connor it's not an absolute lock.
But he showed why the Panthers view him as the No. 2 guy at middle linebacker on Saturday night. He came up with an interception that led to a touchdown on the Colts second drive and halted their third drive with a third-down sack. He also had two tackles for losses, a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup. All in all, a terrific game for him.

--RB Decori Birmingham had a nice outing. Granted it came against the Colts' third-team defense, but Birmingham had 70 yards on 17 carries. He had seven carries for 33 yards in overtime, including 30 yards on the game-winning drive. Still, he's the No. 5 running back in camp, so his chances to make the roster are very slim. Maybe the Panthers can slide him on the practice squad without anyone noticing.

--PK Rhys Lloyd's first four kickoffs sailed at least five yards into the end zone, three of them resulting in touchbacks. There is no disputing Lloyd is a weapon and the Panthers will probably be forced to keep him. The Colts' first turnover was set up when Lloyd pinned them at the 20. That was a rarity last year as opposing offenses normally started with great field position due to short, returnable kickoffs that landed at the 5 or 10.

--WR Dwayne Jarrett led the Panthers with three catches for 43 yards on Saturday night.

--FS Quinton Teal. The kid from Coastal Carolina made the roster last year and is making a case to be on it again this year despite the addition of several new faces at the safety position. Teal had four tackles, an interception and broke up a pass.

--WR Jason Carter was a little shaky on punt returns, but Carter did well as a receiver with three catches for 32 yards vs. the Colts. He probably the roster for the first two games with Steve Smith out, but when Smith returns from his suspension we'll see what happens. He already has the home crowd behind him.

--DE Julius Peppers looked outstanding against the Colts. He had a sack, two other quarterback pressures and a forced fumble against the Colts. No lack of desire here.

  BATTLE OF THE WEEK: DeAngelo Williams vs. Jonathan Stewart for starting RB - Williams continues to hold the upper hand in this battle because of his experience, his overall health and because he's playing so well. Williams ran for 55 yards on nine carries and scored on a pair of touchdown runs against the Colts Saturday. The Panthers decided to hold Stewart out, giving him a little more time to rest his turf toe. If this were the regular season, Stewart could play but the Panthers are being cautious.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Na'il Diggs vs. Landon Johnson for starting SLB - This is the closest battle in training camp this summer. Diggs and Johnson have been splitting a lot of reps with the first team during practice. Diggs started against the Colts, but Johnson was in the game early on.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB DeAngelo Williams ran for 55 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries in a 23-20 win over the Colts. Williams is viewed as a finesse back, but that's not altogether true. He has a good body build and he can be very effective in short-yardage situations. It helps this year that Williams has some big bodies in front of him. He will split carries this season with rookie Jonathan Stewart, but look for big things for Williams if he continues playing the way he has this summer.

ROOKIE REPORT: Jonathan Stewart (turf toe) did not play. ... Jeff Otah started slow in his first start at right tackle, but really came on once he got comfortable with the speed of the game. ... Third-round pick Charles Godfrey started and had a sack in his first preseason game. ... Carolina's other third-round draft pick Dan Connor led the team in tackles with six. He looked very good. ... Tight end Gary Barnidge (fifth round) did not play due to a lower back injury.

INJURY REPORT: The Panthers entered the game without five defensive starters, including middle linebacker Jon Beason, defensive tackle Damione Lewis, cornerbacks Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble and safety Chris Harris.

Among the others who did not play were running back Jonathan Stewart, receivers D.J. Hackett and Ryne Robinson, tight ends Dante Rosario and Gary Barnidge, offensive tackle Rueben Riley and defensive tackle Ian Scott.

Of those injured, Robinson and Scott are considered week-to-week, while the rest are of the day-to-day variety.

Adam Seward started in place of Beason and played extremely well. Richard Marshall and Ricardo Colclough started at cornerback, while Terrence Holt started for Harris and Gary Gibson for Lewis.

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