Patriots fans don't get to see the Panthers very often, so we sat down with Brandon Croce from Panthers Insider to discuss tonight's game. I had three specific questions about the 2015 Panthers. Let's take a look at what Brandon had to say.
1. With the season-ending injury to Kelvin Benjamin, can the Panthers either make due with what they, be forced to sign a veteran, or could they possibly be looking to make a trade?
The loss of Benjamin was huge for this offense but I expect them to look in house for a replacement. The team brought in a ton of talent at wide receiver this offseason with Ted Ginn Jr., Jarrett Boykin and the second round pick of Devin Funchess. I get the impression the coaching staff is confident with this group.
The other reason I don't see them looking at free agents or a trade is they don't believe there is anyone available who will match Benjamin's production. I don't think they know yet who will replace Benjamin but they have two more preseason games to figure it out.
2. Can Jonathan Stewart continue where he left off last season, his best since 2009? Can he run for over 1,000 yards?
Jonathan Stewart was one of the top backs at the end of last year and ran very well. I don't believe there is any question about if Stewart can rush for over 1,000 yards. He has all the physical tools to be an excellent back in this league. The uncertainty lies in whether or not he can stay healthy for a full season.
The Panthers are going to want to rely on the run game this year, especially with Benjamin out for the year. Stewart will have plenty of chances this year to eclipse that 1,000 yard mark. Hopefully he will be able to stay healthy to capitalize on them.
3. How has the addition of Charles Tillman affected the Panthers secondary? The Carolina defense is stout, and I'm interested to hear how he fits in.
A healthy Charles Tillman would be an excellent fit for this defense. He has experience in Ron Rivera's defense and allows the team to move Bene Benwikere inside to nickel, where he is better suited to play.
The question is can he stay healthy. He has missed 22 games the past two seasons with a triceps injury and has already missed a preseason game this year with a groin injury.
Tillman at this point is a big question mark but the Panthers don't have many other options. They are going to have to roll the dice and hope Tillman stays healthy.
Please join us tonight as we blog in real-time and offer our thoughts on the game. See everyone at 7:30!
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