Carolina Panthers training camp is in full swing. Practice began at 9:25 with cooler temperatures.
As I made my way to the practice field, I finally ran into Jordan Gross. He ignored me.
Star was warming up before practice.
It is amazing how these guys his size can just explode into action. If I tried that I am fairly certain I would be at the chiropractor every day for a month.
The punt returners today stayed the same. Cason, Barner, Brown. Punts were done by machine, so there was more predictability and less drops. Perhaps building the confidence of the returners?
Ricky Proehl was on the sidelines catching a few passes. I am certain he could suit up tomorrow if need be. OIe Ricky still got it.
With Deangelo Williams taking a veteran rest day, Kenjon Barner saw increased play time.
I don't know what to make of Barner. In some ways he looks like he could really make an impact on this team. Then you see him get stifled behind the line and you question it all. It could go either way with him this season. I won't be shocked to see him on the final roster, and I wouldn't be shocked if he wasn't.
Cam has decided to make things a little more challenging for the receivers in some of the passing drills. Every once in a while he will run up and scream at them just as the ball reaches them. Couldn't hurt, right?
Mike Tolbert also had a good number of carries today. I still feel he is our best running back. I have noticed and increased burst at the line, possibly due to him shedding 12 pounds this offseason.
There is one thing you absolutely cannot teach a quarterback, and that is height.
Ed Dickson looks like a solid offseason signing. When I watch Dickson (and all of the Panthers tight ends for that matter) play, I am much less concerned about the turnover at wide receiver from last season. Between Olsen, Dickson, and Williams... the receiving talent is there.
Nate Chandler once again spent a lot of time at left tackle next to Amini Silatolu. The more I watch them work, the more excited I get. I know there are many doubters out there, but I think they will be pleasantly surprised. These two are extremely athletic and seem to gel well together.
Chandler matched up very well against Greg Hardy today. His feet seem to have gotten quicker since OTA's.
Byron Bell also spent time at left tackle today, so the matter is far from settled. You have to wonder though, how much longer will it be before the coaches make a decision? Surely they want their new starting left tackle to have plenty of time to settle in to the position.
Joe Webb does a good job of running the ball. He may be worth keeping around, if nothing more than a scout QB for the Panthers to practice against the shiftier running quarterbacks. Just as long as he is not counted on to throw the ball. He was either long or short all day today.
Jason Avant had another solid showing today. On one sidelines throw he was able to reach and make the grab while dragging his toes out of bounds. I am not sure if he will be starting, but I do feel he is an upgrade over Hixon from last year.
After practice, instead of heading in, Jason Avant decided to get in some extra work. The ball machine shot low passes to him, as he practiced bringing them in. You have to love that work ethic.
Cam cooled down on the exercise bike. Until he learned that Peter King was at camp...
and then it was...
Today's Rising Players
- Jason Avant. Like I said, the guy keeps catching balls and making plays. It will be noticed eventually. A highlight of my day was watching him toss aside DT Linden Gaydosh in a special teams drill. - Carrington Byndom. Solid day for this undrafted rookie corner. Ball hawked most of the day and capped it off with a beauty of an INT. - Melvin White. The former undrafted rookie also had a solid day. Maybe Gettleman just has a knack for spotting undrafted corner talent? - Nate Chandler. Looking more and more confident as he gains experience at LT. As such, I become less and less worried.
Today's Falling Players - Matt Blanchard. Blanchard has a habit of setting up his tight ends or receivers to be demolished in the middle of the field by the safeties. I really hope the coaches get him out of that habit before preseason. - Receiving Corps. Too many drops today to mention. Even the sure handed Bersin had a few. - The rest of the team. After practice, Ron Rivera gave the team a longer than usual speech away from the media. From what I saw, and judging by the bulging veins in his neck, he was not at all pleased with the effort put forth at practice today. I expect the team will show up tomorrow ready to work.
I will be there, once again, to provide you with these photos and observations you have grown to tolerate.