2015 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things about Panthers, Steelers in preseason

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-30 03:13

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - If Carolina's defense continues to play like it has in the preseason, the Panthers could be in for one heck of a year.

The Panthers intercepted rookie quarterback Landry Jones three times Thursday night in a 25-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers to finish 3-1 in the preseason.

Carolina finished the exhibition schedule with 13 takeaways and four defensive touchdowns.

``We have to continue to work on it and understand just how important it is to get the ball,'' Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.

---

5 things we know about the Panthers after the preseason:

1. LEANING HARD ON DEANGELO: The Panthers will have to lean more on running back DeAngelo Williams this season - at least early on. Carolina placed Jonathan Stewart on the physically unable to perform list, so he will miss at least five games. When Mike Tolbert returns from a hamstring - his status for the opener against Seattle is questionable - he may be able to help ease Williams' load but until then the Panthers will count on their all-time leading rusher to pile up the numbers.

2. OFFENSIVE LINE A CONCERN: Carolina's first-team offense only scored one touchdown this preseason and the offensive line has had its share of injuries, so that's a concern. Travelle Wharton, who just signed this week, is expected to start at left guard even though he hasn't played a real game since 2011.

3. LINEBACKERS COULD BE AWESOME: Rivera couldn't be more excited about the prospect of having a healthy Jon Beason and Thomas Davis play alongside middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who might be on the verge of becoming the league's best middle linebacker. Kuechly led the league in tackles last season and if you haven't seen him play yet, you're missing something special.

4. TED GINN JR. COULD GIVE A BOOST: Ginn was a cheap acquisition for the Panthers this offseason but he's already showing he has what it takes to be a playmaker. He sparked the Panthers to wins in their final two preseason games with a 74-yard punt return against Baltimore and two TD catches against Pittsburgh, including an 87-yarder bomb from Derek Anderson.

5. PANTHERS DEEPER: Depth has been a concern for years with the Panthers, but they seem to be more talented overall than in recent seasons. Carolina's success in the preseason has proven that out as they've been able to hold on to win preseason games in the second half.

---

5 things we know about the Steelers:

1. OFFENSIVE LINE IS BETTER: The Steelers' starting offensive line remains very much a work in progress, though they did escape the preseason healthy, which was not the case last year. However, Mike Tomlin wasn't quite satisfied that he'd seen enough, opting to play the starting lineman in the final preseason game against Carolina while holding out his skill position players.

2. THE DEFENSIVE LEADER IS BACK: The Steelers learned that safety Troy Polamalu is back and being, well, Troy Polamalu. He's fast and he's making great breaks on the football - reminiscent of his past brilliance. That's great news for the Steelers, considering that play-making safeties like Polamalu are hard to find.

3. FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS: Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is not as durable as advertised. Pittsburgh's second-round pick led the nation in carries last year without a problem but spent as much time in the training room as he did on the field during camp. He's out indefinitely with a sprained right foot and is not expected to be ready for the season opener.

4. BEN IS STILL KING IN PITTSBURGH: The Steelers learned that rookie Landry Jones isn't close to taking over for Ben Roethlisberger. The rookie from Oklahoma struggled in his preseason starting debut against Carolina with three interceptions. He led one touchdown drive, but the Steelers failed to reach the end zone on their next 13 possessions.

``I made some really bad decisions, obviously,'' Jones said. ``I just wanted to go out there and play to the best of my abilities, and obviously, I didn't do that.''

5. GO AHEAD, PICK THE RAVENS: Roethlisberger feels like the Steelers are being overlooked by people across the country - and he likes it that way.

``I don't want to talk too much about it because I like that we're still the underdogs and we're the nobody team and everyone's counting us out,'' he said. ``That's fine with me.''

---

Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveReedAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group