After watching the past two games, we've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. We could consider the preseason game against the Redskins the ugly, the game against the Eagles the bad, and soon the game against the Panthers the good. To make this upcoming game against the Panthers good, the Patriots must focus on the following topics to have a successful game:
1. Stop the duo of Cam Newton and Christian McCaffery
Having half the Panthers rushing game last year with 1189 yards, the Patriots are going to have their best defensive players to stop this dynamic duo. Players like Ja'Whaun Bentley, Malcolm Brown, Adrian Clayborn, Trey Flowers, and others on defense are going to read their keys and gang tackle because it's not easy to tackle McCaffery or Newton in the open field.
2. Find that second-star cornerback
Now I understand that we've seen many cornerbacks on the Patriots have good and off preseasons, but we need that one cornerback that stands out and puts confidence in not only the coaching staff but us the fans that start opposite of
Stephon Gilmore. After Malcolm Butler left for the Titans, there was a big question mark who the second cornerback would be. For me, the strongest candidate for the second cornerback would be Jason McCourty. I understand that he hasn't played a lot and he got burned a couple times in the last preseason game, but I've been following him since he's been starting for the Cleveland Browns and I've seen what he is capable of. I strongly believe that he could be our second corner, but he hasn't shown potential yet.
3. Find the perfect offensive combination
Oh god, here we go again. The Patriots offensive line was a gritty bunch of guys, but it seems as if that grit is starting to go away and injuries are hurting the line. With the absence of Marcus Cannon for 10 straight practices and first-round draft pick Isaiah Wynn out for the season with ruptured Achilles. Who knows how the Patriots are going to fill these holes, but I'm sure Scarnecchia has some tricks up his sleeve. Not only that, but we're going to need offensive line players, such as Trent Brown and others, to step up and make a huge impact on the line.