Panthers Preseason: Coach Frank Reich Speaks On Slow Offensive Start, Banged-Up Wide Receivers, How Tough NFL Cut Down Day Will Be

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich met with the media following Wednesday’s non-contact workout at the practice fields behind Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers will host the Detroit Lions on Friday, closing out the three-game preseason schedule.

Reich spoke on several subjects, including his belief in the slow-starting club, the status of the banged up wide receiver room and how difficult next Tuesday’s cutdown day will be.

Despite 0-2 Preseason Mark, Reich Believes In Panthers

The Panthers’ first-team offense has yet to click and its first-team defense has yielded opening-drive points in losses to the New York Jets and Giants. The Panthers have been outscored, 48-19, during the preseason. Still, Reich commented on the team’s diligent work ethic throughout training camp, saying:

“I feel really good about this team and where we’re at. We’ve had so many reps through OTAs, through training camp, meetings. Just the attitude of the team, the work ethic of the team from start to finish has been A+.”

DJ Chark Sustains Hamstring Injury

Another day, another wide receiver injury. At least that’s how it must feel for the coaching staff. Already without Damiere Byrd (groin), Terrace Marshall Jr. (back) and Laviska Shenault Jr. (concussion protocol), DJ Chark, a key off-season, free-agent addition, suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday. Despite the stockpile of injured receivers, Reich doesn’t anticipate making any additions before Friday, saying:

“Not anticipating any big moves at this point, but we’ll continue to evaluate that day-by-day. I’ve been involved in enough games that you have a ding here, a ding there. I don’t overreact to something. First, I’ve got to find out what’s the severity of it. If a guy gets something, you know, where are we at on that? I just don’t overreact to those things. It’s a next-man-up mentality whether we’re talking for a preseason game or a regular season game. We talked about this from the beginning as a staff, we talk about healthy tension. On one hand, we care extremely deeply about every player and every injury, it hurts to see a guy get dinged, so you feel compassion, but it’s next man up and you got to keep moving on.”

Frank Reich Confirms NFL Roster Spots Remain Open

Entering Friday’s preseason finale, the Panthers’ coaching staff has some interesting decisions to make after the game. Next Tuesday, the Panthers need to cut 37 players to get down to the regular 53-man roster. But Reich remains curious to see how the fringe players perform under pressure, saying:

“It’s hard. You know it’s a business on one hand and players know that, but, yea, it’s never easy. It’s a little bit softened by, of those 37 guys, many of them will be on a roster or a practice squad, ours or somebody elses. There’s nothing easy about it. (But) this thing is not decided yet. There are still a number of spots that are still open, still being discussed. This preseason game, obviously I want it to go well, play well, and execute in all three phases, do good things, make plays. But no matter what happens on Friday night, that’s not going to curb my enthusiasm and my confidence for where we’re at at this time.”

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