Player News - Panthers

Date: Team: Pos:

The Panthers defense intercepted Tom Brady twice as they faced the Patriots in Week 3 of the NFL preseason.

Charles Tillman and Kurt Coleman both got in the action for Carolina, who will need a stout defensive effort in 2014 after losing offensive playmaker Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL. The Panthers D/ST unit and running game will need to be staples of the Carolina team in 2015, as they were down the stretch last season when Carolina finished 4-0 in December while allowing just 10.8 points per game.
Aug 29 - 10:56 AM

Coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers are going to "stick" with WR Corey Brown.

Brown had a nightmare game on Friday night, dropping three passes including his second drop in the end zone in as many weeks. "This is what the preseason is for," Rivera said. "As we go through it and I see how he handles the situation, it will tell me a lot about who he is as a football player." The Panthers do not have much choice but to stick with Brown. Kelvin Benjamin (ACL) is out for the season, Devin Funchess (hamstring) is injured and unproven, and the rest of the depth chart is either old, uninspiring or both. Carolina's lack of receiving talent is a real concern for Cam Newton's fantasy value.
Aug 29 - 10:47 AM

ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton believes Kony Ealy will be the team's starting right defensive end.

With Frank Alexander (Achilles) done for the year, Ealy solidified his spot in the starting lineup with two sacks in as many games. The 2014 second-round pick recorded four sacks in limited snaps last season, but he struggled against the run and did not consistently pressure the quarterback. With little quality depth at defensive end, the Panthers need Ealy to take a step forward.
Source: ESPN
Aug 29 - 9:18 AM

Cameron Artis-Payne rushed six times for 15 yards in the Panthers' third preseason game.

The fifth-round rookie mixed in with the ones after Jonathan Stewart exited. Artis-Payne has secured the Panthers' No. 2 tailback job and is a worthwhile handcuff for Stewart owners. Through three preseason contests, Artis-Payne has piled up 72 yards on 18 carries (4.0 YPC) with two short receptions.
Aug 28 - 10:30 PM

Corey Brown managed one catch for five yards on seven targets in the Panthers' third preseason game.

It was a disastrous game for Brown, who dropped a touchdown for the second consecutive week. He also had a bad drop on a third-down pass. Brown is the favorite to start opposite Devin Funchess in two-wide sets, but isn't a recommended late-round flyer. Brown has two catches for 14 yards through three preseason games.
Aug 28 - 10:28 PM

Ted Ginn caught three passes for 30 yards in the Panthers' third preseason game.

Ginn started and was targeted six times. He outplayed Corey Brown, who struggled with drops for the second straight week. Ginn isn't on the redraft radar despite Carolina's wideout situation. He should be reduced to a situational deep threat when Devin Funchess returns.
Aug 28 - 10:22 PM

Greg Olsen caught six balls for 51 yards in the Panthers' third preseason game Friday night.

Cam Newton targeted Olsen relentlessly and even to a fault in this one, which may be a preview of what we'll see this regular season. Olsen saw a whopping eight first-half targets. Olsen was a chain mover in this game, though he did have an uncharacteristic drop on the Panthers' fourth drive. Olsen had a huge second-quarter gain negated by a penalty on an offensive lineman. Even with Devin Funchess (hamstring) back, Olsen has a chance to dominate targets in Carolina's passing attack with so little out wide.
Aug 28 - 10:15 PM

Jonathan Stewart managed 12 yards on seven carries in the Panthers' third preseason game.

Stewart didn't get much room between the tackles, but broke outside for 11 yards on a late first-quarter run to get Carolina in scoring position. Stewart operated as the Panthers' every-down back with the Cam Newton offense, and will open the season as a true bellcow. Stewart belongs in the fourth round of 12-team drafts. Cuff him with rookie Cameron Artis-Payne.
Aug 28 - 9:52 PM

Cam Newton completed 17-of-28 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' third preseason game.

He added just one carry for two yards. With Devin Funchess sitting out, Newton targeted Greg Olsen a team-high nine times. He was let down by two Corey Brown drops, including a would-be 30-yard score. Newton's touchdown was a goal-line pass to Mike Tolbert from two yards out. The Panthers aren't expected to run more read-option despite the loss of Kelvin Benjamin, and Newton's supporting cast makes him hard to trust as more than a low-end QB1. Newton should finish the preseason 26-of-48 for 284 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Aug 28 - 9:43 PM

Jerricho Cotchery caught four balls for 38 yards before leaving the Panthers' third preseason game with a groin injury.

Cotchery is coming off a painfully-slow 2014, but he's Carolina's most-trustworthy wide receiver at this point with Kelvin Benjamin on I.R. Cotchery was the Panthers' chain mover behind Greg Olsen in this one, with inconsistent burners Corey Brown and Ted Ginn working the perimeter. The extent of Cotchery's injury is uncertain. The Panthers can't afford to lose him, too.
Aug 28 - 9:26 PM

Devin Funchess (hamstring) won't play in the Panthers third preseason game.

It's a missed opportunity for Funchess, who has yet to put anything on tape as Carolina's X receiver. Funchess wasn't cleared after going through pregame warmups. Corey Brown, Ted Ginn, and Jerricho Cotchery will play in three-wide sets.
Aug 28 - 6:30 PM

Panthers coach Ron Rivera hinted the team is planning on rookie WR Devin Funchess replacing Kelvin Benjamin (ACL).

"The thing we’re waiting for is for Devin to be healthy and get him out on the football field," Rivera said. "He runs a lot of the same type of routes. He’s almost as imposing a target as Kelvin and the biggest thing with him is the confidence that he plays with as he develops." OC Mike Shula said the plan is to replace Benjamin with a committee, but it sounds like Funchess will get most of the snaps in Benjamin's old "X" position. The jury is still out on if Funchess can be an effective wide receiver in the NFL, but volume alone could make him a value at his WR38 draft price.
Aug 27 - 9:47 AM

Coach Ron Rivera said he does not expect to use the read option "any more than we've done in the past."

With Kelvin Benjamin done for the year, there was some thought Carolina would get Cam Newton more involved in the running game. Newton had more than 125 rushing attempts in each of his first two seasons, but he has seen his rushing totals fall each of the last two years. The Panthers might not want to use Newton more in the running game, but if Devin Funchess and company cannot pick up the slack, they may have no choice.
Aug 27 - 9:38 AM

Panthers OC Mike Shula said the Panthers will likely replace Kelvin Benjamin "by committee."

"Eventually there might be a guy that emerges," Shula added. It suggests the Panthers don’t view Devin Funchess as ready to replace Benjamin, though Funchess remains the favorite to open the year at X receiver. Corey Brown and Ted Ginn played with the first team in Saturday’s preseason game, but are deep threats that struggle at the short/intermediate levels. Greg Olsen projects to lead the Panthers in early-season targets.
Aug 26 - 4:30 PM

The Panthers have started giving left-tackle reps to fourth-round OT Daryl Williams.

"He’s progressing very nicely," coach Ron Rivera said. "One thing we are starting to do is look at him a little more at left tackle, as well. He’s done some nice things as a right tackle." Williams has graded out as Pro Football Focus' No. 1 overall tackle through two weeks of the preseason. He has the edge for the starting right-tackle job, but could eventually flip spots with LT Michael Oher.
Aug 26 - 2:47 PM


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