Which direction players are heading after Saturday’s 15-7 win over Tennessee in the third exhibition:
DE Everette Brown: Is rounding into a complete defensive end. Always has had a good first step, but he is displaying better discipline and technique against the run as well. Even if Tyler Brayton comes back to start, he’s going to play a significant role here.
RB Mike Goodson: It’s not just the 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, though that was sufficiently impressive (he had to work through traffic rather than just relying upon speed). Goodson made a few plays from scrimmage and showed another sign that they need to find a way to get the ball in his hands.
P Jason Baker: He got a good roll on his 76-yarder (which would be a team record during the regular season), but the cannon-shot only underlined the fact he’s had a good summer. That the Panthers acquired him for Todd Sauerbrun makes him one of the true heists in franchise history.
FS Charles Godfrey: Always was an athlete, but he is becoming a player. When he walked in and was given Mike Minter’s old jersey number 30, it seemed a premature symbol that they wanted him to take over the secondary. He’s not Minter yet, but he’s moving in that direction.
QB Matt Moore: Said it last week but it bears repeating: Yes there are excuses, but Moore needs to make a few more plays. You can assume things will improve when Steve Smith gets back onto the field, but Moore missed some plays that he’ll have to make even when Smith returns.
Offensive line depth: Part of this problem will take care of itself when right tackle Jeff Otah comes back and guys resume their normal roles. The second line has struggled throughout the preseason, and they’ll need a few of those guys to be trustworthy once the season starts.
LB Eric Norwood: Didn’t record a stat Saturday. He’ll be a part of things moving forward, but he’s going to have to learn to play linebacker, and that’s more of a process than his early results might have indicated.
QBs Tony Pike and Hunter Cantwell: Hard to blame them since they aren’t getting chances, but the reality is they have one game Thursday night in Pittsburgh to show their wares, to the Panthers or to other teams.
WR Brandon LaFell: His one-handed catch was impressive but kind of unnecessary. He had put his left arm down to brace his fall, leaving just one to control the ball. He’s not consistent enough catching to go for that kind of flash. But he has made steady improvements, and remains ahead of the normal rookie pace.
CBs Robert McClain and R.J. Stanford: The seventh-round rookies might be fighting for one roster spot. They each have made plays at times, but it’s hard to separate them. Both have shown flashes on defense and special teams, and are creating a tough call.
DB Marcus Hudson: Probably could walk through the stadium concourse without being recognized, but he’s going to play an important part this year. A standout special teams player will play more defense than first thought, and he’s smart enough to know exactly how to fill his role.
RB DeAngelo Williams: Probably not worth freaking out that he averaged 1.4 yards per rush (nine for 13 yards). Once the regular season starts and they resume normal game-planning, it’s reasonable to imagine his numbers return.
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