Halfway through the exhibition schedule, the Panthers still have a lot of questions about the makeup of their roster.
Their secondary depth remains an issue, particularly at safety. Two of their drafted rookies are still dealing with injuries, and the first-team offense was a mess at Tennessee.
On the positive side, they have several players whose versatility provides a great deal of roster flexibility – not the least of whom is do-it-all, first-round pick Christian McCaffrey.
Projecting the Panthers’ 53-man roster.
QUARTERBACKS (3): Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, Joe Webb.
The skinny: Anderson had a rough start against the Titans, although you can’t blame him for Devin Funchess’ first-play fumble. The biggest question, of course, involves the health of Newton, whose workload will increase this week.
RUNNING BACKS (5): Jonathan Stewart, Christian McCaffrey, Fozzy Whittaker, Cameron Artis-Payne, Alex Armah.
The skinny: McCaffrey kept the ball after his first NFL touchdown, and his role will increase when Mike Shula breaks out the wrinkles he’s been saving for the regular season.
WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard, Curtis Samuel, Brenton Bersin, Damiere Byrd.
The skinny: Byrd, the former South Carolina star who had a big game against the Texans, finished with no catches (on one target) on Saturday and made a couple of questionable decisions as a returner.
TIGHT ENDS (3): Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson, Chris Manhertz.
The skinny: Dickson’s value as a blocker could impact what the Panthers do with their fullbacks.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9): Ryan Kalil, Matt Kalil, Daryl Williams, Trai Turner, Andrew Norwell, Taylor Moton, Tyler Larsen, Amini Silatolu, Gino Gradkowski.
The skinny: This group seems pretty well set except for the final spot, maybe two. Gradkowski gets the nod this week over Chris Scott, who did not make the trip to Nashville because of an unspecified injury.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9): Kawann Short, Star Lotulelei, Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson, Mario Addison, Wes Horton, Daeshon Hall, Kyle Love, Vernon Butler.
The skinny: No changes to the defensive front, despite the fact Butler (knee) and Love (ankle) remain sidelined.
LINEBACKERS (6): Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Shaq Thompson, David Mayo, Jared Norris, Jeremy Cash.
The skinny: It was a mixed bag for the backup linebackers at Tennessee. Mayo, who started in place of Luke Kuechly, led all defenders with 10 tackles. And Cash was active with four tackles, a sack and another quarterback hit.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (9): James Bradberry, Daryl Worley, Mike Adams, Kurt Coleman, Captain Munnerlyn, Colin Jones, Teddy Williams, Cole Luke, L.J. McCray.
The skinny: The thinking here is that interim general manager Marty Hurney still will look to beef up the secondary with a veteran acquisition after roster cutdowns.
SPECIALISTS (3): Graham Gano, Michael Palardy, J.J. Jansen.
The skinny: The punting competition is the real battle among the specialists, and right now Palardy looks to have the edge. Andy Lee, coming off a hamstring injury that ended his 2016 season in October, did not punt against the Titans. Palardy averaged 49.5 yards on two punts, with a net of 49.0.