There are lots of play by play threads here so I won't be redundant. If you want to read a play by play visit the main fan fest thread here.
First things first, this is the most impressive Topcat squad I have ever seen. Keep your eye on this promising young rookie...
Star walked on to the field and took a moment to soak it all in. This was his first time walking out of the tunnel with a crowd cheering for him. Star appears to be a very quiet and serious guy. It was nice to see him take a moment and get to know the house he will dominate in for years to come.
Charles Johnson was pulled on to JR's cart for a chat. People tend to forget how much respect JR gets from the players. They really see him as a father figure. Having the only NFL owner who played the game at its highest level is something we should all appreciate more.
I am willing to bet that once Luke Kuechly makes the hall of fame, he will give some credit to Thomas Davis. Davis has taken on a real mentoring role with Kuechly.
I like CJ's hat, thinking about picking one up.
Common themes are starting to develop in my camp threads. That probably means there is much truth in them. Brandon Lafell is having his best camp to date. This is the season many WR's break out and have amazing years. Like Mushin did, I am hoping Brandon does as well.
I know, I know, I talk about Barner a lot. But there is good reason. Look at that tiny hole in the defense that he is able to cut through. Notice how close his feet are together yet able to keep balanced. This may not have been a big gainer, but last season if we could have traded a few no gains for a few 2 -3 yard gains we would have had a better record. Many times Deangelo would have kept running to the outside and passed on this gap to run through (usually resulting in no gain or worse).
Byron Bell got into a scuffle with Frank Alexander. No big deal, it happens every year. Its hot out and the big men start to get angry. To me what was more interesting was who stepped in to calm down Byron Bell. None other than GM David Gettleman. I never saw Marty Hurney do anything of this nature. Finally having a football guy in the GM seat has its benefits. You cannot have too many figures of authority to give direction to these young guys.
Luke Kuechly wraps up the ball in fumble drills. I can't help to think about how many of you guys would like to be that ball. Yeah I said it.
Speaking of Luke, he and Blackburn have spent a lot of time together on the field. Keep your eye on Blackburn this season. He is a former Giant that Gettleman brought in for good reason. Blackburn was a Giants team captain at one point. He also has a college degree in mathematics. How many football players have that?
Again I kept a close eye on Garry Williams (pictured below against Kawaan Short). Garry didn't allow Short to get much of a push up the middle in most cases. I am becoming more and more comfortable with Garry in the RG spot.
Tedd Ginn is still the first guy taking Kickoff snaps. Special Teams returners are something nearly impossible to predict in camp. We really have no idea how these guys will do until preseason when there is actual tackling. Every kick return looks great in practice.
Byron Bell catches a lot of heat sometimes, but fans sometimes forget this guy has to go up against the Kraken, many times on an island, every single practice. Think about that. When it comes to playing other teams, Byron will probably be relieved he doesn't have to go up against Hardy.
Other things of note:
- Josh Norman is trying to make his way out of the dog house still. He had a really nice leaping INT, but otherwise has been fairly inconsistent.
- There was a really good crowd at Fan Fest. Not as good as last season, but still pretty decent.
- Barner saw snaps with the first string offense. That is not something Poole or Smith can say.
- Brandon Williams had a couple of really nice catches from Jimmy Clausen, but also had a drop or two. I am really pulling for Brandon, it will all come down to preseason for him. If he can make a few plays, I believe he makes the team.
Thanks for pulling me aside and letting me know you guys follow the Huddle as either lurkers or huddlers. I've had many guys on both sides of the fence pull me aside and let me know how much the appreciate this joint.
It really helps for me to physically see you guys and hear you enjoy the site. You are appreciated.
Garry broke his ankle in 2011 and was out for the season. It has taken him since then to recover and get back to where the Panthers wanted him to be. Last season he started out with poor conditioning. This season he participated in OTA's and now training camp showing the promise that Rivera saw in him a couple years ago. If RIvera and the offensive staff are comfortable with that, so am I.
Hello everyone, and welcome to this edition of the Carolina Huddle Training Camp Update.
While walking to the field, I noticed the black and white stripes of NFL officials. I wasn't the only one that noticed them. Mike Mitchell, who looks like he may be a starting safety, shows a veteran move and starts making nice with the officials right away. Thats how its done, young fellas. You need those guys on your side.
I spotted a new drill I had not seen before for the linebackers. It looked like a drill for the eyes. The players didn't touch the ball, they just practiced watching it and tracking it to the ground.
I know many of you are counting Jon Beason out, but I'm not. Big Beas was in good spirits at practice and still providing that veteran leadership to the defense.
Then in a surprise move, David Gettleman had all the players stop practice and search for more salary cap room...
I kept a close on on new starter Garry Williams and am happy to report he held up well. There was no drop off in run blocking and there may have been a slight improvement in pass protection.
Cam had more time to throw, which allowed him to show better technique out there. He had a much better day than Tuesday.
The linebacking corps had a solid day in pass coverage. Luke Kuechly broke up a pass to Greg Olsen. Luke has shown real improvement in his pass coverage. If he can excel in that area, he may be the most complete linebacker in the league.
Rookie linebacker AJ Klein had a really nice deflection on a ball intended for Kenjon Barner. Klein has the closing speed needed to cover some of the shiftier backs. Klein will make the team and see time on special teams.
After a short rain delay, the sun came out and it got hot. I mean real hot. So hot that a water bottle is no longer meant only for your mouth.
Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott takes a hands-on approach to the defensive drills, making corrections and taking time to explain the play further.
I have heard rumblings from fans that Derek Anderson may lose his second string spot, but I just don't see that happening. Anderson is having a great camp. He may even be having a better camp than Cam Newton, although against a second and third string defense.
It was a productive day for the Panthers tight ends. Greg OIsen, Ben Hartsock, and Brandon Williams all had nice catches. Brandon Williams caught a pass on a crossing route and rumbled into the end zone. Cam Newton yelled "YOU DON'T WANT NO THIGHS FOR DINNER!" to put an exclamation point on the play while eluding to Brandon's physique.
Steve Smith worked the slot most of the day, covered by nickel back Captain Munnerlyn. Smith won the battle, making catch after catch. There was even an "after catch ball spin", a Smitty hallmark.
I know I have said it before, but it really is pretty amazing how Kenjon Barner has corrected his biggest flaw so quickly. I can't recall a rookie that has progressed so fast. Kenjon is running low, and following his blockers as well as any running back on the team.
I've seen Derek Anderson throw many shuffle passes this year. I am not sure if that is a planned thing, or just a Derek improvisation. Either way, it has been working.
Overall is was an upbeat practice where the offense was more productive. This is great news for those doubting Garry Williams can fill in for the recently released Geoff Hangartner.
Panthers whose stock is rising:
- Tedd Ginn - Looks to be our kick returner. A sure way to earn a roster spot.
- Armanti Edwards - Even as a critic of Armanti, I must admit he is having a great camp
- Armond Smith - He had a terrible fumble earlier in the week, but his speed out of the backfield on passing downs is something to behold. No linebacker has a chance.
Panthers whose stock is falling:
- David Gettis - now seeing playing time only with the third and fourth strings.
- Haruki Nakamura - His neck tackle of Barner yesterday was almost a horse collar. If you can't control yourself in camp going half speed...well...
Thats it for this edition of Camp Update! I will be on the field at fan fest and will report back Saturday.