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Panthers open preseason Friday night against Buffalo Bills

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers play their first preseason game on Friday night against the Buffalo Bills, according to WSOC-TV.

Carolina is 1-5 against the Bills all-time in the regular season. This will mark the first time the teams have played against one another in the preseason.

The Panthers preseason record in 2013 was 3-1. No team has repeated as champions in NFC South history, and the 2013 championship Panthers look to become the first team to accomplish that feat.

Long-time veterans Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton retired in the off-season, Byron Bell and Nate Chandler are the leading players to fill the left tackle spot.

With Steve Smith gone to the Baltimore Ravens and Brandon LaFell to the New England Patriots, the Panthers had some space to fill in the wide receiver spot. The team drafted Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin. The wide receiver position will also feature veteran free agents Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery.

The team has many others competing for a wide receiver spot, including Brenton Bersin. Bersin looks to become the first player from Wofford College since Jerry Richardson to make an NFL roster. He spent the 2013 season on the team’s practice squad.

Greg Olsen leads the tight-end unit. DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert form a dynamic group to lead Carolina’s running game.

Quarterback Cam Newton had ankle surgery in the Panthers offseason. Derek Anderson serves as his veteran backup, while Joe Webb and Matt Blanchard battle for the third quarterback spot.

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The Panthers defense was ranked second in the league last season, and is led by last year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy are tied for the team lead in sacks over the past two years. Hardy had a high-profile offseason for his involvement in a domestic violence altercation. He appealed a guilty conviction, and his trial is set to start in November.

“Opening preseason games are always interesting because you never know how the young guys are going to react to the game conditions and that is what makes this exciting,” said Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.

The team opened training camp on July 26 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. just one day after Panthers Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium. Over 36,000 fans attended the event.

The Panthers released their jersey schedule for the 2014 regular season. It is as follows:

Aug. 8 vs. Buffalo Bills – White
Aug. 17 vs. Kansas City Chiefs – White
Aug. 22 at New England Patriots – Black
Aug. 28 at Pittsburgh Steelers – White

Regular season:
Sept. 7 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Blue
Sept. 14 vs. Detroit Lions – White
Sept. 21 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Blue
Sept. 28 at Baltimore Ravens – White
Oct. 5 vs. Chicago Bears – White
Oct. 12 at Cincinnati Bengals – White
Oct. 19 at Green Bay Packers – White
Oct. 26 vs. Seattle Seahawks – Black
Oct. 30 vs. New Orleans Saints – Black
Nov. 10 at Philadelphia Eagles – White
Nov. 30 at Minnesota Vikings – White
Dec. 7 at New Orleans Saints – White
Dec. 14 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Black
Dec. 21 vs. Cleveland Browns – Black
Dec. 28 at Atlanta Falcons – White


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