Three goals and top battle

© Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The three goals and top battle

Three goals:

--Gain comfort in new offense. Norv Turner is on board as the offensive coordinator and there's vast experience for him to draw on. But it will be vital for the Panthers to make sure his ideology is a good fit with quarterback Cam Newton and some of the versatile parts available to the offense. This marks a fresh start for the offense, so its development is a big part of the preseason.

--Unleash young receivers. The Panthers have a lot invested in some of their youthful receivers and the amount of patience the coaching staff has in seeing how much they'll be able to contribute will be notable. Second-year pro Chris Samuel needs to avoid the injury bug, while first-round draft pick DJ Moore, under no sense of urgency because he's so new, could be seen as a solution right away. The Panthers are counting on these guys boosting the receiving corps because the group became particularly vanilla in many ways by the end of last season.

--Short-term linebacker fix. The Panthers will play the first four games without veteran linebacker Thomas Davis, who was suspended by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Davis has been such a presence for the team that making sure his absence isn't devastating could be a quite a chore. This might be his final season anyway, so it might also provide a glimpse into the long-term remedy for his spot.

Top battle:

--Left guard. It might be a matter of Amini Silatolu against all comers. There are options here if Silatolu doesn't pan out, with second-year pro Taylor Moton the most intriguing. It's versatility that tends to make the group of contenders so diverse. There could be a push to find a way to put Tyler Larsen in the lineup because he has performed well as a starter in 15 games at center the past couple of years when Ryan Kalil has been out.