Bleeding Green Nation’s game-by-game preview of the Eagles' 2017 schedule continues today with Philadelphia's Week 6 opponent: the Carolina Panthers. (Click here for the Week 5 preview.)
The Eagles will travel down to Charlotte, North Carolina for a Thursday Night Football game against the Panthers. One of two teams could be waiting for them there. Will it be the 2015 Panthers, the Super Bowl runner-ups led by MVP award winner Cam Newton? Or will it be a version closer to the 2016 Panthers, a team that finished 6-10? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Or maybe things could be even worse than last year.
Carolina hasn’t exactly had a lot of stability this offseason. They just fired their general manager Dave Gettleman, who was 40-23-1 with three playoff wins, earlier this week. The timing of that move was extremely unusual. The Panthers also lost their assistant general manager this offseason.
The Panthers’ front office moves might not impact their on-field performance this season. Carolina still has some good talent on their roster and they added even more weapons for Newton during the 2017 NFL Draft. Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel could make the Panthers’ offense more challenging to defend.
It’ll be interesting to see how the 2017 Panthers shake out. At this time it feels like this could be a winnable game for the Eagles. It won’t be easy, but this one should figure to be competitive.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the Panthers from our SB Nation associates over at Cat Scratch Reader.
Notable free agent additions:
DE Julius Peppers, CB Captain Munnerlyn, OT Matt Kalil, S Mike Adams,
Notable free agent departures:
WR Ted Ginn, OT Mike Remmers, FB Mike Tolbert, DT Paul Soliai, LB AJ Klein
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Curtis Samuel, OT Taylor Moton, DE Daeshon Hall.
While the Panthers continue to say veteran RB Jonathan Stewart will get the bulk of the work I think they will have a hard time not putting the ball in McCaffrey’s hands. I think he’s going to be electric as a rookie.
Biggest offseason addition:
DE Julius Peppers - The Panthers all time sack leader returns home. So far the fans have welcomed him home with open arms.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
QB Cam Newton’s continued recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. He is expected to be ready for training camp but had only begin throwing recently.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
LB Shaq Thompson looks ready for a breakout season as the third All Pro LB in the Panthers starting line up.
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
None beyond Newton’s rotator cuff.