Three Carolina Panthers to watch in Friday’s exhibition against the New England Patriots:
1 Cam Newton, quarterback: Newton had his ribs cracked at the end of a scramble in the third exhibition last year at New England. Newton wants to jump-start a sluggish first-team offense that has managed only seven points in seven possessions during the first two exhibitions. But he doesn’t need to take any unnecessary hits by scrambling or leaping over the pile at the goal line.
16 Corey Brown, wide receiver: Panthers coach Ron Rivera was disappointed none of his receivers stepped up against Miami last week after Kelvin Benjamin’s season-ending knee injury. Brown had chances vs. the Dolphins, but had two drops, including one in the end zone. He needs a much better performance.
94 Kony Ealy, defensive end: Ealy seems to offer the most upside among the players vying for the starting spot at right defensive end, but consistency has been the issue. If Ealy can generate pressure against a stout Patriots offensive line, it bodes well for last year’s second-round pick from Missouri.