The Carolina Panthers have spent the last month figuring out their identity for the upcoming season.
That question will literally be answered Saturday, when what was once a roster of 90 will be trimmed to the chosen 53 in advance of the season opener.
"There are some very tough decisions to be made," head coach Ron Rivera said Thursday after the Panthers concluded the preseason "A lot of guys came out and gave us their all. It's going to be tough, but a lot of these guys had an opportunity to play and make some plays.
"Now we'll see how it unfolds."
Here are a few questions that remain as decision day looms.
How many quarterbacks will the Panthers carry?
Throughout the preseason, quarterback
"The only thing I can control is the way I perform on the field," Webb said. "I try not to worry about that. I let upstairs handle that."
While Webb presumably was referring to general manager Dave Gettleman and Co., he and several of his teammates might say a little prayer tonight. Webb's prayer is likely to be answered, with Rivera saying earlier in the week that Webb deserved serious consideration even before a rib injury to starter
The Panthers carried just Newton and
Who will join "Triple Trouble" in the backfield?
With the running backs the Panthers picked the sixth round of the 2013 and 2014 drafts (Kenjon Barner and Tyler Gaffney) no longer on the roster, the chase to join
How will the numbers shake out in the secondary?
The Panthers could possibly keep 10 defensive backs, but nine is more the norm and could be the plan with three quarterbacks likely to make it. That could make it particularly crowded at safety, with veteran additions
That's part of the reason the Panthers moved
Will the initial 53-man roster include the Week 1 punt returner?
"Yes, without a doubt," Rivera said when asked if undrafted rookie
Brown returned nearly 50 punts and averaged nearly 10 yards per return at Ohio State, but he had difficulty securing a punt for the second time this preseason in the finale.
"That's all right," Rivera said. "He's out there to learn, too. That's why he was out there to return all of them. He's got to continue to work and get comfortable."
Will the initial 53-man roster be the same come Week 1?
History suggests that it won't be, with the roster decisions made by other teams around the league opening up the possibility that the Panthers will turn over a slot or two in first day or two after cuts by claiming a player off waivers or signing a free agent.
So while players that make the roster by the skin of their teeth probably should hold off on throwing a party, those who don't make it shouldn't hold a pity party. Just last year, veteran cornerback Drayton Florence was a surprise cut, but he was back on the team and in the starting lineup come Week 3.