Carolina’s preseason opener resulted in a 24-17 win against the Chicago Bears, and it wasn’t pretty. Unfortunately, the “W” doesn’t count, but the Panthers can take away plenty of good things from their first matchup of 2013, and they’ll have to spend some time working on their weak spots.
Josh Norman – Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler isn’t known for his ball security and cornerback Josh Norman helped advertised that. Norman picked off Cutler’s first pass attempt of the game to set up Newton’s three-yard touchdown pass to LaFell. Norman also snagged a pass intended for Fendi Onobun from Bears’ third-team quarterback Matt Blanchard. If Norman continues this kind of play for the next three preseason games, he may gain the starting position back from Captain Munnerlyn.
The rest of the secondary – Safety Anderson Russell hasn’t seen much regular season action, but he looked great in Friday’s matchup with six solo tackles and one assist. Rookie cornerback Melvin White had also had a strong first preseason game in the league. White, a University of Louisiana-Lafayette product, had seven tackles in his freshman debut. Honorable mentions: Louis Nzegwu, Mario Addison and James Dockery.
Cam Newton – Newton only had 12 interceptions in his sophomore season, but his first showing of 2013 didn’t leave fans confident he’d be as successful this year. Newton’s third series pass, intended for Greg Olsen, ended up in the hands of rookie linebacker Jonathan Bostic for a 51-yard touchdown. What’s more disturbing than in pick, the fact Newton didn’t even see Bostic. “I saw man-to-man. … (Wright) had help inside. I completely lost (Bostic),” Newton said. “Just got to get the cobwebs out. It’s something different than our defense and we’ve got to be more prepared.”
Turnovers – Yeah, yeah, it could have been worse, but just because it doesn’t count doesn’t mean the Panthers get a “free turnover day” pass. The Panthers had a total of four turnovers Friday night, contributing to the games total of seven. Newton and second-string quarterback Derek Anderson were picked off, as well as two fumbles by Kenjon Barner and third-team quarterback Jimmy Clausen, resulting in two scoring possessions for Chicago.