CHARLOTTE – James Bradberry and Daryl Worley know what's coming. Head coach Ron Rivera knows it, too.
When rookies are playing prominent roles, opposing coordinators are going to test them early and often.
"I imagine they'll approach them how people approach rookie quarterbacks," Rivera said. "They're going to go at them."
Bradberry – Carolina's second-round pick from Samford – and Worley – the third-round choice from West Virginia – are ready to stand up to their first challenge against quarterback Trevor Siemian and the Broncos on Thursday night.
"I've got to get in the film room, and when I'm out there I have to be ready to make plays on the ball," Bradberry said. "I know the ball is going to come, because I am a rookie."
Added Worley: "The quarterbacks in this league look for matchups. That being said, we'll go out every play expecting the ball to come our way. As long as we're going hard expecting the ball to be coming our way, it's nothing we shouldn't be able to handle."
Safety Kurt Coleman has watched Bradbery and Worley develop throughout the offseason, and the leader of Carolina's secondary is fully confident in their ability to cover Denver's talented receivers.
"From when they were first drafted to where they are now is leaps and bounds," Coleman said. "They are going to go out there and really wow some people."
For rookies and veterans alike, confidence comes from preparation, and both Bradberry and Worley feel prepared to handle so much responsibility.
Going up against Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess each day in practice has been a huge help in that respect.
"I feel like going up against those guys will prepare for us for anything that we might possibly see," Worley said. "We're prepared for anything we'll see on gamedays."
There's no way of predicting how the rookies will react once they finally step on the field for their first regular season game Thursday night. Rivera acknowledged that at his press conference.
It's a big moment, but it's one they intend to seize.
"I'm ready to showcase my talents," Bradberry said, "to go out there and prove myself."
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game at Denver.