Panthers Young Talent on Display Tonight

Sharon Thorsland
August 09, 2017 - 6:45 am

Expectations are high for the Panthers tonight, who open the preseason against the Houston Texans at Bank of America stadium.

Kickoff is set for 7:30, WBT's coverage starts at 4:30 with the pregame show.

I know I'm not the only one excited to see rookie running back Christian McCaffrey..

Everyone from the coaches to fellow players to the media and fans have been raving about the speedster since he arrived in Charlotte.

Now we get to see how he does against some pretty tough competition – the Texans boast one of the best defenses in the NFL. Star pass rusher J.J.

Watt is back from a season ending back injury and leads a Houston defense that ranked number one in the league last season.

He's joined by former South Carolina standout and Pro Bowler Jadaveon Clowney, as well as veteran linebackers Brian Cushing, Whitney Mercilous and Benardrick McKinney.

Panthers tight end Ed Dickson is ready. “I respect that defense.

I watched them a lot very closely and see the things that they do,” says Dickson. “I'm excited to go compete against them.”

Who won't be competing is Cam Newton. The Panther quarterback is still nursing a sore shoulder and will be on the sidelines tonight.

But the Panther offense will showcase plenty of talent, starting with McCaffrey and his fellow young players.

The speed on this offense is exciting to watch – keep an eye out for local product Austin Duke, the receiver has been turning heads in camp.

The Texans also boast a lot of speedy receivers, most notable Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins.

The former Clemson standout led the Texans with 954 yards and 4 td's last season.

And the Texans boast their owner version of McCaffrey – Tyler Ervin is an explosive play-maker who will line up all over the field.

Another guy to watch for is Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson.

The former Clemson standout is now a rookie for Houston, and he's pushing veteran Tom Savage for the starting QB job. 

This is just a preseason game, but we can definitely find out a little more about who this Panthers team is – lots of veterans will have limited minutes or won't play at all, but the young guys will get plenty of time to shine, including second-year cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley.

Coach Ron Rivera is looking for guys to stand out. “That's what we're looking for,” says Rivera. “We want play makers, guys who are gonna make plays for us.”

I can't wait to see who that is. Go Panthers!


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