Cam Newton is expected to see his first game action since Dec. 17 when the Carolina Panthers host the Buffalo Bills on Friday night.
Newton, the league MVP in 2015, missed the final two games of last season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January. He and Carolina’s other starters did not play in the first preseason game against the Bears.
Wide receiver Curtis Samuel was the star of training camp for the Panthers. His speed, quickness and ability to create separation are quickly turning him into Newton’s favorite offensive option. Samuel will step into a starting role in his third NFL season and play alongside D.J. Moore after the Panthers let Devin Funchess leave in free agency.
Panthers rookie first-round draft pick Brian Burns had two sacks against the Bears and has looked dominant in Carolina’s 3-4 defense. However, Burns tweaked his ankle Tuesday in a joint practice with the Bills. He tried to practice Wednesday, but couldn’t. Burns said he plans to play against Buffalo, but it’s possible coach Ron Rivera will err on the side of caution and keep Burns out.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen gets an opportunity to carry over what was an encouraging performance during two days of practices with the Panthers.
Aside from continuing to develop rapport with new receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown, Allen took time to get advice from Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly on how he defended against certain plays.
Running back LeSean McCoy is expected to make his preseason debut after fellow veteran Frank Gore started in Buffalo’s preseason-opening win over Indianapolis. And there will also be focus placed on rookie running back Devin Singletary to see if he can build on the production – 27 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving – he had against the Colts.