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 striped 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.