With only twenty-six days to go until the first game of the season, many Panthers fans face the unknown when it comes to expectations for this year. Going from a trip to Super Bowl 50 to 6-10 last season is less than ideal when it comes to forging a consistently successful future for the franchise. This preseason, however, has been riddled with personnel moves including the replacement of GM David Gettleman with Marty Hurney, a former Panthers GM who took Carolina to it’s first the Super Bowl one year into the job and drafted many of the Panthers’ current key players such as Cam Newton, Thomas Davis Sr., and Luke Kuechly. With less than 4 weeks to go, here are two main things all of Panther Nation has to look forward to.
1) Linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. was re-signed to a new deal today extending up until to 2018. A lot of critics have been made the argument against this signing because Davis is getting older but statistics show his tackle numbers were the second highest they’ve ever been in his career. Furthermore, Carolina has a rather young secondary and his veteran leadership will be as important as ever. Davis has solidified himself as a leader on and off the field and along with star linebacker Luke Kuechly by his side, the two should make for a formidable run stopping pair.
2) The Panthers’ first round pick, Christian McCaffrey, has seemingly dominated this year’s training camp with high praise from some of Carolina’s top defensive members. The Charlotte Observer has reports of Kuechly commenting on being viscously juked by the rookie running back saying “He’s quick, he’s got shake, he’s fast. He got me today on one run, luckily, Thomas (Davis) was right next to me. The way he runs, you can tell he’s done it a few times. He’s very precise with his movements, he’s in and out of breaks quick.” Ron Rivera was so impressed by his performance he gave the nod to don McCaffrey Offensive MVP of training camp. During Carolina’s first preseason game against the Texans, the former Stanford running back looked smooth and comfortable, seemingly ready to pick up where he left off in college hitting gaps patiently but quickly.