Skip to main content

Five Things to Watch: Panthers vs. Dolphins


1. Faster start for the QBs: Cam Newton, Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke all had one thing in common during the preseason opener at Buffalo: they all started 0-for-2 passing.

A faster start is the expectation as Carolina gets set to host the Dolphins for their first home preseason game.

Newton and the first-team offense could play as much as a half, depending on how things go. Gilbert and Heinicke will wait anxiously for their opportunity, as the competition for the backup job continues.

"Just be consistent," head coach Ron Rivera said. "I know I say it all the time, but to me it's a big deal."

2. The starting corner competition: Rookie cornerback Donte Jackson will get the start opposite James Bradberry, and it's the second-rounder's job to lose at this point.

Kevon Seymour, the other corner still vying for the starting role, had a tough night against the Bills. Seymour played well into the fourth quarter and was targeted by Buffalo's quarterbacks throughout. He'll no doubt be looking to bounce back with a more disruptive outing versus Miami.

3. Eyes up front: Rivera indicated that five-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil will play. The Panthers have carefully monitored his workload, and he did not suit up against the Bills.

While Kalil preps for his 12th season as a starter, right tackle Taylor Moton is bracing for his first. With Daryl Williams out indefinitely with a knee injury, Moton is tasked with holding things down on the right side for the foreseeable future. The 2017 second-round pick was out there for 25 snaps against Buffalo, and he'll benefit from as much preseason experience as he can get against guys like Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn.

"Real pleased with the way (the offensive line) is coming along, but you never really know until you play for real," Rivera said. "I like this week's matchup. I think Miami has got a terrific defensive line. It will be a really good test for a couple of our guys. Taylor has got a good matchup, and it'll be good to see how he fares against them."

4. Can Haynes G2X? On the flip side, rookie defensive end Marquis Haynes is looking to create some problems for Miami's offensive tackles. The fourth-round pick registered one tackle in his debut against the Bills, but with his edge-rushing talent, the Panthers would like to see him affect the passer more consistently.

Carolina's two sacks in the preseason opener came courtesy of defensive tackle Vernon Butler and rookie linebacker Jermaine Carter.

5. More work for Captain: Rivera said the coaching staff simply lost track of cornerback Captain Munnerlyn's reps in the first preseason game – hence why he only had a team-low five snaps in Buffalo.

"We're going to get him some extra ones this coming week," Rivera said. "He's done a great job. I can't say enough about how hard he's working right now."

Munnerlyn has really impressed Rivera and Co. with his tenacity and dependability throughout camp, and he's earning his way back into a prominent role after a disappointing 2017 season.

BONUS - New uniform combo: Ever wonder what the blue jersey would like paired with white pants instead of silver? Looks like you'll get your wish tonight.

Related Content