If the Carolina Panthers had to choose their 53-man roster based on their preseason game on Aug. 17, there would be a group of disappointed individuals. The Panthers lost to the Buffalo Bills, 27-14, in a game that was about more than the scoreboard. Let’s look at the Panthers’ worst performances in their loss to the Buffalo Bills.
A Look at Carolina Panthers’ Loss to Buffalo Bills
4. Will Grier
It isn’t that Will Grier incapable of putting together a game-winning performance, it’s that he didn’t this week. He took a step back from his showing against the Chicago Bears in week one. Whereas against Chicago, the West Virginia alum threw one touchdown, he managed the exact opposite against the Bills. His first drive of the game, Grier threw a pick-six to Kevin Johnson.
He set up two field goals while he was in but they did not come without major mistakes. Grier threw a plethora of incomplete passes, including ones to Torrey Smith and Jason Vander Laan. He did complete 10 of his 19 passes but having that interception returned for a touchdown really hurt him. He’s a rookie, understandable, but when a team is looking for a solid number two after getting rid of a guy with plenty of experience (Derek Anderson) it looks like they made the wrong decision.
The Bills’ offense had their way with the Panthers’ defense on Friday night. They allowed three touchdowns and just did a poor job of getting to the ball. For a string of guys who are trying to find their way on this team, they gave up 280 yards through the air. It was a lot considering how much the Bills’ defense gave up to the Panthers. It was like the secondary gave no effort last night and that score was their reward.
One bright spot for them—Lorenzo Doss did come away with an interception trying to give the team some life. The Panthers couldn’t turn it into points, still, it had to look good for Doss. The secondary is really going to have to step it up against the New England Patriots Aug. 22. If the Panthers cut down their roster today, not sure if the guys on the first or second string would make it.
2. Bryan Cox Jr.
This was not a good week for Bryan Cox Jr. to get a speeding ticket, as first reported by the Associated Press. Not only did it put a damper on his chances of making the Panther’s roster, but it also seemed to distract him during the game. Aside from one assist with a tackle, he didn’t do much. The Panthers haven’t made any final decisions yet as to what they want to do with Cox. His citation just comes at a bad time, said Cat Craves’ Brandon Scott.
He still has two games left in this preseason to show Carolina what he can do. He played well against the Bears but on a team who has many young faces and a ton of depth, he’s going to have to make a push to stand out during this next game.
1. Torrey Smith
The Panthers signed Torrey Smith to a one-year extension back in March, according to Cat Craves’ Danny Jaillet. Although fans weren’t particularly thrilled with the signing, it looked like it would be a good move for the younger guys in the locker room. Still, he was targeted three times against the Bills and came up empty-handed. If the Panthers made cuts today, would they consider cutting their losses with the veteran?
Smith is by no means the answer to Carolina’s receiver needs but for the $5 Million hit his extension put on the teams’ salary cap, he should be giving the team more to look forward to.
The silver lining is that this is why teams have preseason games. Sure, injuries happen and therefore we can make the argument that shortening the preseason is long overdue, but four games are imperative to finding what will hopefully be a championship-caliber team.
There’s one game left before the Panthers make their first round of cuts. The Bills game gave these players a lot to look at to improve before their game against the Patriots. Making the necessary changes will be imperative if they hope to make it on the 53-man roster.
Embed from Getty Images