Patriots Vs Panthers: 5 Players to watch

Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady during the 2014 season game against the Bills. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady during the 2014 season game against the Bills.
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Patriots will play the Carolina Panthers tonight at 7:30 pm EST in Charlotte, N.C.

If you live in Boston, you can catch the game on WBZ-TV Ch. 4. If you won’t be home for the game, you can listen to it on the radio at 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub.

Here are the five things to watch for in tonight’s preseason game number three.

1. QB Jimmy Garoppolo: He’s coming off an excellent game against the Saints, where he led the Patriots back from a 21-0 deficit, to win the game. Tonight, he will play against a better defense, so it’ll be fun to see how he does. He has a chance to continue building off his great game from last week.

2. LB Jamie Collins: The last time the Pats played Carolina, he killed them with his legs. Jamie Collins will be tested tonight with trying to bottle up the run-happy Quarterback. The defensive ends will be tested also because if they over -pursue Newton, he will get big yardage.

3. DT Malcom Brown: He will be huge this season in stopping the run and tonight he will go against a team that loves to run the football. It will be a huge test for the rookie and a great one.

4. WR Reggie Wayne: I’m not sure he will play tonight, but reports are he was the first player on the field today, so he might. If he does, he might be running with Tom Brady and that’s the only reason you need to watch number 15 on the field. Let’s see how they look together.

5. CB Bradley Fletcher: Darryl Roberts may be out for the year after a promising camp, so the Pats need corners stepping up big time, and they need depth. Fletcher has been solid all camp and preseason, tonight he has a chance to increase his role within the team. He needs to. Others to watch include Robert McClain and Tarell Brown.

Here’s an interesting report floating around out there in cyberspace, Clete Blakeman will serve as a ref for the Pats-Panthers game tonight, according to

Blakeman has a connection to the deflategate scandal. He was mentioned in the Wells report as one of the two refs who were testing the PSI during halftime of the AFC Championship Game. That is when 11 of the 12 footballs were discovered to be under the regular PSI limits, barely.

Blakeman also referred the game between the Patriots and Panthers in 2013, where a non-call was the talk of ESPN for a week. Back judge Terrence Miles threw a flag on Panthers LB Luke Kuechly for a hold, or better yet a bear hug, on Rob Gronkowski, but Blakeman picked the flag up after a discussion with the other refs.

Well, this should be fun.

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