NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVD) -- With one dress rehearsal under their belts, the Panthers get tune-up #2 on the road in Nashville versus the Titans. Both teams have gotten their fair share of one another over the last few days; the Panthers flew into Tennessee on Tuesday, and joint practice with the Titans started on Wednesday. While these joint practices have the tendency to end in intersquad squabbles, surprisingly enough everyone kept their tempers in check for the most part (except for one tense moment during Thursday's special teams drill).
Now, the Panthers must switch to game mode. Here's a few things to watch out for in their preseason tilt vs. the Titans"
Will Cam play?
Newton was on the sidelines for the team's 27-17 win versus the Texans, and Derek Anderson led the show. The team has been cautious with Newton's return as he continue to rehab his throwing shoulder. During the last week alone, though, Cam has gone from throwing in individual drills to red zone drills. On Thursday, he threw to the Panthers' first-teamers. Ron Rivera said Newton still looks rusty and that's to be expected. Carolina will keep him on ice until next week's game versus the Jaguars.
The Wide Receivers
Kelvin Benjamin had a beautiful catch in the Panthers' first preseason game, and Rivera talked extensively about the wide receiver building off of that in the team's next test. Rivera has praised Benjamin for the big strides he's made in camp, and now he hopes he can put it together with third-year WR Devin Funchess. The Panthers are hoping the duo can step up to the plate in a major way this season, and lead the way for the wide receiver corps.
These guys don't need a lot in order to get amped up to play football. After all, it's their job. But Rivera kept the team in their post-practice huddle longer than usual following the conclusion of Thursday's practice. Why? He didn't like what he saw. Even rookie RB Christian McCaffrey called the offense's effort lackluster.
After last season's disappointing finish, the Panthers need to treat every snap with intensity because the habits that help you win start during the offseason. Hopefully the team takes that memo into account before stepping on the field at Nissan Stadium on Saturday.
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