NFL Preseason Preview - Carolina (1-2) at Pittsburgh (1-2) (ET)
08/27/2014 12:06 PM
08/27/2014 12:11 PM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Carolina Panthers will close the preseason Thursday night in the Steel City against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Panthers still have plenty of questions that need to be answered after last week's 30-7 drubbing at the hands of New England.
"We want to try to get a good look at a number of players to help us make the right roster decisions," said Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. "At the same time, we need to find consistency that was lacking against New England."
The Panthers will also have to make those decisions without starting quarterback Cam Newton, who suffered a fractured rib against the Patriots.
Newton suffered the injury late in the second quarter when he scrambled and absorbed a hit from Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins. He remained in the game until the third quarter and finished 8-of-12 for 88 yards.
Joe Webb spoiled New England's shutout bid with a late TD pass.
Rivera remains optimistic that Newton, who also had offseason ankle surgery, will be able to play in the Sept. 7 opener at Tampa Bay.
The Steelers are also dealing with some issues after a 31-21 setback at Philadelphia.
Ben Roethlisberger played into the third quarter against the Eagles and finished the game 15- for-24 for 157 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Steelers, who are 1-2 on the preseason.
A day after being pulled over for marijuana possession the Pittsburgh running back tandem of Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount played and combined for 16 carries and 55 yards, along with four catches for 17 yards.
The two ball carriers and a female friend were arrested after Ross Township Police smelled the scent of marijuana coming from a black Camaro that Bell was driving. The three jointly admitted to possessing the marijuana and Bell is facing charges of possessing and driving under the influence, while Blount has to deal with those same possession charges.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin ultimately decided against any suspension, passing potential punishment off to the league while leaning on the logic that missing a preseason game would be a "reward" to players like Bell and Blount, who aren't fighting for a roster spot.
The Steelers have been Carolina's most common preseason opponent. Pittsburgh leads the preseason series 10-5.
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