7 p.m. Saturday, Bank of America Stadium
TV: Fox (WCCB in Charlotte)
2011 RECORDS: Panthers 6-10; Houston 10-6.
INJURIES: Panthers – LB Jon Beason (hamstring), LB Thomas Davis (calf) and CB Brandon Hogan (knee) are out.
Texans – DE J.J. Watt (elbow) and LB Brian Cushing (virus) are out.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ...
When the Panthers have the ball:
Cam Newton has stayed after practice working on his timing with recently acquired receiver Louis Murphy and some of the other wideouts. The hope was that Murphy could solidify the receiving rotation; a good showing tonight would help. Rookie guard Amini Silatolu, who played at Division II Midwestern State in Texas, gets his first game action since the Panthers took him in the second round.
When the Texans have the ball:
Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly broke records with his tackling at Boston College, but he’s shown instinctive coverage skills at training camp, as well. With Beason and Davis out, it will fall on Kuechly to corral running back Arian Foster. Free safety Haruki Nakamura, Ed Reed’s backup in Baltimore, has waited four years for the chance to start. It will be interesting to see whether Nakamura can make plays in the open field.
When the Panthers’ special teams are on the field:
Veteran kicker Olindo Mare is trying to hold off Justin Medlock, the former CFL standout who has had a good camp. Rivera wants to intensify the pressure by waiting to tell the kickers who is taking the field goals and extra points. The Panthers don’t do live special teams at camp, so this will be the first chance to see rookie Joe Adams, one of the nation’s top punt returners at Arkansas.