» Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is the real deal. The No. 9 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft played a few series at weakside linebacker and had four tackles. Two plays stood out: Kuechly stuffed Texans running back Ben Tate for no gain on a play from the Panthers' 2-yard line on his first defensive series, and he forced a fumble on two-time Pro Bowl selection Arian Foster on his subsequent outing.
» The Panthers still need to work on their special teams. According to Football Outsiders' advanced metrics, last year's unit ranked dead last in the league. Improving the unit was a priority this offseason, with the team adding Haruki Nakamura, Kenny Onatolu and Mike Tolbert for their special teams skills. Allowing a 90-yard kick return for a touchdown is a sign this unit needs a lot of work before the season opener.