SAFETIES PREVIEW: The Panthers have had a different pairing at the safety position each year of the Ron Rivera era, and that will continue in 2016. Veteran Roman Harper is back with the New Orleans Saints after a two-year stint with Carolina, opening the door for someone else to step into the starting lineup next to Kurt Coleman, who led the team with an astounding nine interceptions, including the playoffs, last season.
1. How will Coleman handle new challenges?
Coleman exceeded all expectations in his first season with the Panthers, and now he'll be counted on to direct a young secondary. Harper's departure also means Coleman could line up at strong safety and play in the box more often, as opposed to his ball-hawking role in center field a year ago. Coleman is embracing all the change and the leadership responsibility that's been thrust on him, and the six-year veteran expects to build off an incredibly productive 2015 campaign.
2. Is Tre Boston ready to thrive as a starter?
The 2014 fourth-round draft pick has waited for his chance, and his time has come. Boston enters his third season as the starter alongside Coleman. He's been a solid contributor during his first two seasons, and now he's ready to put what he's learned to use in a more impactful role. Boston has all the physical prerequisites. His success will come down his ability to play within the scheme and communicate effectively with Coleman and the other defensive backs.
3. How much has Dean Marlowe progressed?
After signing as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015, Marlowe played in four games and was inactive for the other 12. Marlowe's hard-hitting style intrigues the Panthers, and the coaches will be looking for more consistency in Year Two. He'll have plenty of opportunities to prove he's made strides playing behind Coleman and Boston in training camp.
View photos of Carolina's safeties in action.