The 49ersHub is continuing the series of "Ask the Expert" with Carolina Panthers' Edgar Salmingo Jr. up next. Salmingo Jr. is a contributor for USA Today's Panthers Wire. You can find him on Twitter @PanthersAnalyst, dropping top content and information on the Carolina Panthers.
He spoke with us in an interview about the Panthers-49ers matchup that's coming up on Sunday, September 10. Check out these questions and answers from Edgar and go give him a follow on Twitter for great Panthers' content.
1. QB Cam Newton had offseason shoulder surgery, missed time during training camp and preseason. Is he a 100 percent to go on Sunday and will he be rusty?
Is Cam 100 percent? Maybe, maybe not. The jury is still out as he really has not tested his shoulder this offseason. After a couple of weeks of not throwing, he came back to play the third preseason game to throw only two short passes before being pulled. He has resumed throwing in practice, but it remains to be seen how effective he will be out of the gate. Many in the fan base expect him to be rusty to start.
2. The Panthers seemed to have a Super Bowl hangover season last year and didn't meet the expectations that I personally had. Do you see them bouncing back for a division title and playoff spot this season? What has to change for that to happen?
Absolutely. Whereas two years ago the Panthers experienced everything that could go right go right, last year was the reverse. And they still were able to win 6 games. Combine the loss of Josh Norman (and all experience at corner), the multitude of injuries across the offensive line, and both Newton and Luke Kuechly being out, it was just too much to overcome.
This year, with the addition of Christian McCaffrey, the unproven cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley with a year under their belt, and the veteran additions of Matt Kalil, Julius Peppers, and Captain Munnerlyn, the outlook is much brighter in 2017.
3. RB Christian McCaffrey is going to be dynamic in the run/pass game. What's your prediction on what kind of season he will have?
McCaffrey is the iconic running back of the millennials; he can run between the tackles, outside the tackles, and catch passes out of the backfield and out wide. He has an established running back in front of him (read: Jonathan Stewart), so excitement should be tempered. But he is the dangerous weapon that the Panthers have needed for many years and he will be involved somehow and someway if the team wants to win games.
4. Does LB Reuben Foster remind you of a younger LB Luke Kuechly? 49ers' fans have high expectations for Foster, do you see any similarities?
What sets Kuechly apart from every other linebacker is not his athletic ability, but his intense and incredible preparation and diagnoses of plays. Does Reuben Foster have the athletic ability of a Luke Kuechly? Absolutely. They both are athletic freaks that can blow up a play with the right read. But Foster will need to commit himself in the film room if he wants to reach his level.
5. Panthers or 49ers? Give me your prediction with a score!
Panthers, of course! But in no means is this fan base or this team taking the 49ers lightly. Kyle Shanahan offenses have had the Panthers number in the past, so I would not be surprised if he give the Carolina defense fits yet again. I’ll say the Panthers squeak by with a rusty Cam Newton and traveling across the country, 27-24.
Thanks to Edgar for taking time to speak with us @49ersHub!