Tom Brady will let former Panthers WR Brandon LaFell try to show his former team that they made a mistake in not re-signing him this offseason.
Both the Panthers and the Patriots had huge losses in the offseason. The Patriots lost critical players in the LB corps and secondary while the Panthers lost three of their top 4 receivers. However, while the Patriots were quick to replace their departed players with equal or greater talent, the same cannot be said for the Panthers.
The two teams play each other in the preseason “dress rehearsal game” in which the starters play more snaps than in any other game prior to the start of the regular season.
The Patriots have been running on all cylinders this preseason even without leading TE Rob Gronkowski, who is likely to miss the game as he continues his recovery from knee surgery. The Patriots’ backups, on the other hand, have not been as efficient. 2nd-round pick QB Jimmy Garappolo has struggled the last few games and may see only limited snaps in this “dress rehearsal game.”
The Panthers only recently got QB Cam Newton back from ankle surgery, but he struggled against the Chiefs last week, putting his short-term mobility into question. WR Kelvin Benjamin, the team’s first-round draft pick, played well and is still being considered the starter alongside veteran Jerricho Cotchery.