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Carolina Panthers Training Camp

by Sharon Thorsland

It’s game two of the preseason for the Panthers, who head to the Big Apple for a match up with the New York Giants. Kick-off is set for 7:00 Friday night. After a less than impressive showing in their first exhibition game against the Jets, all eyes are on Bryce Young and the offense. Panthers coach Frank Reich expects an improved performance from his entire squad. “I think they’ve responded well,” said Reich. “You know, the intensity, the focus out of practice. I think we’re all looking forward to getting out there and putting on a better performance.”

The Giants will provide a good test for the Panthers. They won 10 games last season, including a first round playoff win, and have plenty of talent back on both sides of the ball. Former Duke standout Daniel Jones is back at quarterback, and the Giants brought in more targets for him, including veteran receivers Parris Cambpell and Cole Beasley and Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller. But the biggest threat on this Giants squad is star running back Saquon Barkley. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year is one of the best in the game. Behind him the Giants put up 148 rushing yards per game last season, good for 4th in the league. “He’s one of the hardest backs to tackle in the open field,” said Panthers safety Xavier Woods. “He really has it all as far as his contact, as far as open field, making moves and stuff of that sorts. He’s one of the toughest backs to play.”

The Giants defense is also tough to play and will present quite the challenge for the Panthers offensive line, which struggled mightily against the Jets last week. Veteran defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s group plays a 3-4 scheme that is aggressive and physical. They’ve got some outstanding players in the front seven, including former Clemson standout and All-Pro Dexter Lawrence, defensive end Leonard Williams and edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. Adoree’ Jackson anchors the secondary. The Panthers will once again be trying players out on the offensive line as they try to find the temporary fill-in for Austin Corbett at right guard. Reich is looking for rookies Chandler Zavala and Nash Jensen to get lots of reps there. He’s also looking to see how Young does against Martindale’s aggressive scheme that uses a lot of blitzes. “This is a very unique challenge for a preseason game,” said Reich. “Because they’re going to do what they’re going to do, they’re not holding anything back. This is just who he is and part of his personality. We look forward to it – it’s going to be a good challenge