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  1. Keyarris Garrett didn't have to choose Carolina, but he did. The main reason why he landed in Carolina? Well, he can tell you that... Ricky Proehl was the main reason Garrett chose Carolina over a dozen other teams. While places like Atlanta are producing "recruitment videos" and other gimmicks, the Panthers are staying true to what actually works. Namely, excellent coaches who take the time and connect with the players. Coaches with a proven track record of developing young talent. Imagine being a rookie wide receiver and in your first practice having a coach that can not only tell you how to run a route, but also run it himself better than anyone else on the field. Instant. Respect. Garrett was wise in choosing Proehl and the Panthers. Afterall, coach Proehl has.... Turned Kelvin Benjamin, who some said was a project, into a thousand yard receiver in his rookie year. Took Devin Funchess, as inexperienced a rookie wide out can be, and molded him into a real threat and one of the better Panthers receivers late in the season. Made Philly Brown, and undrafted rookie, a contributor on offense almost immediately. Clearly, coach Proehl knows how to develop young talent. This year he has the NCAA's leading receiver Keyarris Garrett to work with. Just imagine. View full article
  2. Now that the dust has settled on round one, the Carolina Panthers have unfinished business to get down to in round two. I told you no uncertain terms who would be the pick in round one. Things become a little more murky in round two. Nevertheless, here is what I think will happen. 1. Panthers will try to trade up Like last year, there are still a few players on the board that the Panthers really like. Hunter Henry, Derek Henry, Emmanuel Ogbah to name a few. This would likely require a trade up into the top 10 of the second round. I am not so sure Gettleman is willing to give up enough to move that far. One possibility, however, is banking on that probable third round compensatory pick for next season and trading the existing 2017 third round pick away along with this year's. The Carolina Panthers could more easily move up to the teens. This would put them in position to draft someone they may not have a first round grade on, but someone who could impact the team immediately. 2. Panthers mid-second round targets In the second round today, aside from the players listed above, the targets could be... - Sterling Shepard - WR - Shepard would round out the Panthers WR corps perfectly and the Panthers do like him quite a bit. - Kendall Fuller - CB - Despite a minor injury last year, Fuller still high on the list of wants. This would certainly make fans who are still worried about the loss of Josh Norman happy. 3. If the Panthers cannot move up If the Panthers are unable to move up and must pick at 30, I like... - Su'a Cravens - SS - Would immediately compete for playing time with the departure of Roman Harper. Some project as a small outside LB, the Panthers could treat him like they did Thomas Davis initially and put him at strong safety. - Von Bell - FS - The Panthers really don't need another FS, but they like Bell enough to take him anyways. - Devontae Booker - RB - Good mix of size and ability. A well rounded running back that could take a roster spot from Whitaker, Artis-Payne, and/or Wegher. View full article
  3. After Sunday's victory over the Green Bay Packers, Kawann Short was asked by the media if this Carolina Panthers 8-0 start was a surprise. "This is what we expected from day one" Short replied with an unwavering confidence. Short's emergence as a premier under tackle, and even occasional defensive end, is a huge reason why the Panthers are currently undefeated. For example, it was Short's pressure from the defensive end position that forced an intentional grounding call against the Houston Texans earlier this year. Without that penalty, the Panthers could easily have one loss. Kawann's latest game winning play was a pressure up the middle on Aaron Rodgers, who was forced to hurry throw the ball. That pass ended up in the hands of Thomas Davis. Without Short, that interception would not have happened. A Panthers victory would have remained in doubt. Short's play resembles that of Warren Sapp. Relentlessly aggressive with a quickness that no man his size should possess. Short has 6 sacks this season, tied with Cincinnati's All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Together, hey lead all defensive tackles in sacks.... and most defensive ends. Thats right, big named DE's and OLB's like Bruce Irvin and Julius Peppers have fewer sacks than Kawann Short. Short has 3 more tackles, and 5 more assisted tackles than Atkins currently. I would say that is at least a Pro Bowl performance in the first half of this season, if not All Pro. Will we continue to see Short dominate the line of scrimmage and contribute to an undefeated record? Could be. Short does not plan on sitting on his laurels anytime soon. "We still have to stay humble, disciplined, and come out ready to work." View full article
  4. For the last week at the Carolina Panthers training camp, running back Fozzy Whitaker had taken the majority of the second string snaps behind starter Jonathan Stewart. Today, it was rookie Cameron Artis-Payne that received the majority of the second string snaps. Payne was seen getting handoffs from Cam Newton in addition to receiving out of the backfield. Artis-Payne has been getting an increasing number of reps as camp has gone on. If this trend continues, he may take over the second string or "change-up" back position for good by the start of the season. Artis-Payne, like Fozzy Whitaker, is a good compliment to Jonathan Stewart. Both backs offer a shiftiness out of the backfield that could break for large gains on any run. On one particular run today, Artis-Payne was hit by second year corner Carrington Byndom. This type of contact is usually prohibited during non padded practice. Artis-Payne was not expecting it. After absorbing the hit and hanging on to the ball, Artis-Payne just looked back at the defender and smiled. A fragile running back he is not. Whether this is a permanent move or the coaches just wanting to get a closer look at Artis-Payne with the first string remains to be seen. However, a late round rookie getting plenty of first string reps is nothing to brush off as meaningless. Something is happening at the running back position and it is worth keeping your eyes on. View full article
  5. In June I reported that undrafted rookie Damiere Byrd out of South Carolina was making plays during OTA workouts. Now, in August, I can tell you that Damiere Byrd is also making plays in training camp. During a fully padded practice,, Byrd was able to sneak behind Colin Jones in the secondary and make an impressive reception from Cam Newton. However, the NFL officials at practice called him out of bounds. Byrd will need to work on the small details of the position like dragging your feet and tapping your toe when near the sideline. The good news for Damiere is that much like last year's Corey Brown, he is an undrafted receiver getting reps with the first string.... and producing That is something not to be taken lightly. Byrd has the kind of speed that cannot be taught. During the final play of practice, it was again Byrd who snuck into the back of the end zone behind safety Robert Lester, this time bringing his feet down in bounds for the touchdown. Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera has said the Panthers would keep 6 or even 7 wide receivers. Six receivers is fairly common across the league. Seven, however, is not. Could Rivera have had Damiere Byrd in mind when he made that comment? Could be. View full article
  6. One of the Carolina Panthers players I am asked about more frequently is second year defensive end Kony Ealy. Ealy has the potential to be a great asset in Carolina as he can play both defensive end and defensive tackle. Players that can fill in at multiple positions are highly coveted in the NFL because they offer the coaching staffs much greater flexibility in developing a roster. Last season, Ealy struggled early in camp and during the first part of the season. As the Sundays came and went, Ealy did show great improvement. Towards the end of the year, he was an important cog in the Panthers defensive machine. So, how has Kony looked this season? Well, I can tell you that it has been another slow start for Kony. Whispers of his sub par play are heard frequently along the sidelines and among the media types. That may have all started to change on the 5th training camp practice, when Ealy once again started showing flashes. Pictured below is a nice swim move Ealy has developed as a defensive tackle. Ealy blew past guard Ricky Henry on the way to the quarterback. The result was a solid run stop. Later in practice, against Cam Newton and the Panthers first string defense, Ealy was inserted as a defensive end. He was able to elude offensive tackle Michael Oher. Of course, Ealy let up as he approached Cam Newton, as contact with the QB is not allowed in camp. As you can see below, the result would have surely been a QB sack if Ealy had kept going full speed. If Ealy can continue to improve throughout camp and preseason it will help the defense tremendously. It would help ease concerns with the defensive tackle injuries. A stout Ealy would also improve the quality rotation at defensive end, allowing Charles Johsnon and Mario Addison to stay more rested and effective. I will keep you updated on his progress throughout training camp. View full article
  7. Day 4 of the Carolina Panthers Training Camp is in the books. With a heat index of 109 in Spartanburg, the Panthers still managed to have a spirited practice that yielded some good things. Thomas Davis was taking a veterans day off. However, he still managed to act as an additional coach of sorts, helping rookie linebacker David Mayo at times. This did not keep Mayo from performing his rookie tasts, such as fetching helmets for the veteran players. The Carolina Panthers coaches were especially energetic and vocal today. This could be due to the return of head coach Ron Rivera. Sean McDermott kept a close eye on his defensive unit and was not shy in pointing out where they were lacking. Dave Gettleman kept a watchful eye over practice, and was joined by aspiring GM but current Panthers safety Roman Harper at times. Ted Ginn continues to impress in camp. When asked today if he was still the fastest guy on the field, he answered in the affirmative. The Panthers offense struggled early today, mainly due to poor offensive line play. Cam Newton scrambled out of the pocket more than once, something Panthers fans have gotten quite used to seeing. Newton was visibly upset for a brief moment, expressing to his offense they would need to pick up their game. This may be redundant, but Kelvin Benjamin continues to make plays. At some point I may stop reporting this, as you can probably just take it as a given. Gamecocks product Damiere Byrd had his best day of camp so far. Damiere is proving himself not only a deep threat that the team desperately needs, but also a weapon on the end arounds. His end around run today was the prettiest of camp so far. Brenton Bersin continues to field second string punts, and guess what.... he looks pretty good. Many people are hard on Bersin for last year's punt return performance. They forget, however, that Bersin had zero punt return reps in practices up until he was asked to field them in a live game. Punt returning is 100% about repetition, without it no player would do well. Michael Oher improved from his lackluster performance yesterday, although he did have help at times. As many have pointed out, if the Panthers can get Oher to just the level of serviceable, it will be an upgrade over last season. Jordan Todman was fighting a stomach bug but still practiced in between trips to the sideline to vomit and hydrate. You have to admire his resolve. Todman is not a lock to make this roster, and he knows every snap counts. Mike Remmers beard. Thats all. Today's Climbers: - Damiere Byrd - As stated earlier, his best performance of camp. - Cameron Artis-Payne - CAP had the prettiest touchdown scamper of camp so far. He also appears to be improving in pass protection during second team drills. So far, so good for this rookie. - Mario Addison - Addison may be the most improved defensive player on the roster. I am very impressed what he has brought so far. He appears to be well ahead of Kony Ealy at this point. - Lee Ward - Caught a nice ball out in the flat, made some killer blocks in pass protection. View full article
  8. During Sunday's press conference, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart called rookie fullback Lee Ward a "Punisher". Ward likes that description. "That's a huge compliment, especially coming from that guy" Ward told me after practice. "He is an absolute monster and I expect huge things from him this year." During Monday's practice, Ward began to showcase why Jonathan Stewart classified him in that unique way. Ward, in charge of protecting his quarterback, stifled linebacker Adarius Glanton for the duration of the play. Glanton appeared not to have taken too kindly to Ward's tenacity and got in a little extra curricular activity, knocking his helmet off after the whistle. I asked Ward if he had lost his helmet and had a busted chin before. "It's something that has happened my whole career. I've busted my chin too many times to count at this point. They say the ladies like scars, so I guess it is only a good thing, right?" On the very next play, Ward picked up his protection assignment again, this time linebacker stopping Jason Trusnik in his tracks. The result was much the same, namely proper protection and enough time for Derek Anderson to make a good read and throw. Ward does not seem to be too concerned about any ramifications from defensive players not accustomed to being stopped by a rookie. "I just try to get them on the play and do the best I can. I'm not really worried about the extra curricular stuff. The veterans don't appreciate a rookie coming and hitting them in the mouth, but I am trying to make this team just like they are." Ward appears to have the right mind set required for any rookie, especially an undrafted one, to make a NFL team. If he can keep impressing like he did today he could very possibly make the Panthers practice squad or even regular roster. View full article
  9. The Carolina Panthers Training Camp last season introduced us to guys like Andrew Norwell and Corey Brown. Two undrafted free agents who ended up making major contributions to the playoff run of 2015. So who will be the sleepers this season? Well, here are my best pre-camp guesses..... 1. Damiere Byrd - WR South Carolina While small in stature, Byrd has the physical gifts that the Panthers need, namely pure speed. During OTA's, Byrd connected with the Panthers backup quarterbacks for multiple long bomb touchdowns. This local kid has what it takes to shine in camp this year if given the opportunity. Given the uncertain future of Stephen Hill and his recent transgression, Byrd may just get that chance. 2. Lee Ward - FB Stanford I love me some Lee Ward. A bruising throwback fullback who punished his opponent as he lays waste. While not the most glamorous or highlight generating position, the pure blocking fullback is something I would love to see added to the Panthers arsenal. He would also aid in protecting Cam Newton given the unknown skill level of the Panthers 2015 left tackle Michael Oher. 3. Dean Marlowe - S James Madison You haven't read much about Marlowe until now, but that could quickly change. If there is one position on the Panthers roster that an immediate impact could be made, it would be Safety. Marlowe saw plenty of snaps in OTA's and looked sharp. If he can also contribute in Special Teams he may be able to carve out a roster spot. Not an easy accomplishment for an undrafted free agent on this Panthers squad. So there are the top 3 young guys I am hoping can make an impact. Who are yours? View full article
  10. Shaq Thompson has officially arrived at Panthers training camp. While being largely absent the first two practices, he started to come into his own on today's third practice. During 7 on 7 drills, Thompson made a speedy break on a Cam Newton pass intended for Greg Olsen. Thompson batted the ball now, marking his first official play made in Panthers training camp. One of Thompson's primary responsibilities will be to cover talented tight ends like Jimmy Graham (now in Seattle). Getting camp experience against pro bowler Greg Olsen can only accelerate his learning and adjusting to the pro game. Thompson continued to impress throughout the day. Another play that sticks out in my mind is a very quick gap stop, halting Fozzy Whitaker's progress. The Carolina Panthers had issues with plugging the correct gap in run defense for a good portion of last season. Shaq Thompson is having more thrown at him than most defensive rookies. He is learning what is probably the most complicated position on the defensive side of the field. While other rookies can be thrown into the mix relatively quickly, Thompson will require more film room time in addition to playing time. If today's performance is any indication, Thompson may be a quick study. View full article
  11. On the way to the practice field, I noticed one player had a little something extra tucked in his sock. I respect that. Old School. Kurt Coleman was out on the practice field early, catching balls from the tire machine. Coleman has looked solid over the weekend and could be a starting day 1 strong safety. KK Short was on a bike again, unfortunately. Star and Charles were working on some of the finer hand details of the position before the initial whistle blew. Younger players need to really pay attention to this. These guys are not fighting for a roster spot, yet they are out there early working on the minutia of the position. Cam had another decent day today, although the protection he was getting was not ideal. ... He was not wearing a superhero shirt today, sadly. David Mayo looks the part of a middle linebacker. He has been fairly quiet in camp, however. Fozzy Whitaker continues to get second string reps behind Jonathan Stewart. Whitaker looks like a solid option as a chance of pace back, but could get pushed by Cameron Artis-Payne and Brandon Wegher as camp continues. Corey Brown has improved since a lackluster start of camp. He is still getting more first team reps than Ginn. Thomas Davis was sure to let Jonathan Stewart know that it was him that tagged his fanny on a running play. Stewart laughed as Davis informed him. The veterans on the team spend a lot of time in between series discussing the plays and the schemes. Pictured are three guys you will not find talking about vacation activities or the night's plans while on the practice field. These guys are 100% football in the moment. Other Notes: - Nate Chandler took most if not all of the second string left tackle reps. - Overall, the defense had the upper hand today. I counted 6 "would be" sacks on Cam Newton. Many times the pass went on to be completed, but in an actual game situation it would have been a downed QB or a Cam Newton scramble. - Mike Remmers looked solid on the right side of the line. My concern over that position is starting to go away. Solid protection against Charles Johnson. - Defensive tackle Kyle Love has made plays in this camp. The Panthers could possibly opt for him over Colin Cole. - Colin Jones made another great play on a Cam Newton pass today, nearly intercepting it. Jones has amazing closing speed that will keep in him in the mix for playing time. Additional Articles From Today's Practice Oher Struggles Early Shaq Thompson Making Plays Also check out Thomas Davis' Visor View full article
  12. Last season, then rookie Kelvin Benjamin was selected to get in special reps with Cam Newton away from the other players. Typically, they would go over end zone routes or fine tune a few things here or there. Well, that trend is happening again this year, but they have added one more participant. Devin Funchess During Saturday's training camp session, Kelvin and Devin joined Cam Newton on the opposite field to work together away from the rest of the team. They caught extra passes from Cam Newton while running various routes, and then spoke to Newton about them. Small adjustments were made, and the routes run again. During one of the drills, Funchess had a chance to show off his vertical while going for an overthrown ball. I found it fairly impressive. I realize this may not seem like much, but it could be early signs of a Kelvin/Devin duo taking over the receiving corps. Stay tuned. View full article
  13. Carolina Panthers training camp 2015 kicked off on Friday night to a good sized crowd, anxious to see what their 2015 squad had to offer. To help get the crowd excited, Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton had a contest of sorts. Which player could get the crowd louder. Tolbert may have won, in my opinion. Cam Newton continued to look very sharp throughout the day. I remarked in OTAs that this may be the best I have ever seen him. One can only hope this development continues when the pads are on. Newton and new left tackle Michael Oher have a special hand shake they do before each series. It is important that these two develop a trust quickly if the Panthers offense hopes to improve on last season. Colin Jones could possibly be the most improved defensive player of the offseason. He may not let go of that buffalo package roster spot as quickly as some think. Jones is the fastest defensive player on the team and a real asset against those offenses that like to spread the ball around. Stephen Hill practiced and improved on a lackluster June performance. My only concern remains his propensity to catch the ball with his body and not look it into his hands. He has a tendency to take his eye off the ball more than any other receiver I have photographed. Ted Ginn, on the other hand, nearly always is looking the ball into his hands.... observe... Fozzy Whitaker showed the explosiveness that the fans grew to love last season. He has some new competition this year in Jordan Todman and rookies Artis-Payne and Wegher, but Fozzy does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon . Even though he is on the sideline, Cam Newton doesn't take a break. He continues to go through mental reps that helps him prepare. Cam's growth as a player has as much to do with what he does on the sidelines as what he does under center. Brenton Bersin made a few nice catches much to the delight of the Wofford crowd. "Here we go Bersin, here we go" was the chant of the day. Josh Norman had a mixed day. While he did may a couple of nice plays on the ball.... He also let Jerricho Cotchery get behind him for a long completion from Cam Newton (would have been a touchdown.). Ted Ginn was first team punt returns, and quickly impressed. As he bolted up field and to the sideline, he received from praise from new Panthers safety Kurt Coleman who exclaimed "Oh, he is fast". Speaking of Coleman, I liked what I saw out of him on Friday. He had an interception and a really nice break up on a Cam Newton to Ed Dickson connection. Note the ball coming out below.... Former Panthers safety Chris Harris is back in a Panthers uniform, this time coaching up the defensive backs as an assistant. He and Peanut Tillman spent a lot of time going over the finer points. Damiere Byrd got in a few snaps late. While he was able to get behind the defenders, he was then slowed by contact that probably would not have drawn a flag. Byrd needs to learn the finer points of playing through such contact on a pro level. He has time, and I feel the Panthers are impressed enough with him to keep him in the mix and see if he improves. Overall, it was a solid first practice. I was happy with the tempo and enthusiasm. The Panthers are looking less like a young team in search of an identity and more like a veteran team on a mission. View full article
  14. Over the past several weeks, Kelvin Benjamin had to live with the first bit of real negative press about him concerning his weight. Of course, we all remember in June when Ron Rivera remarked he was 10 pounds overweight, which played a role in his hamstring pull. Well, if the first training camp practice of 2015 was any indication, Kelvin Benjamin has turned that criticism into motivation and made a statement saying exactly that. View full article
  15. With less than a month to go until NFL training camps open, I thought it may be helpful to take a look at the Carolina Panthers southern rivals and start a dialogue on their offseason changes. First up, Atlanta Falcons. Here are the important bullet points of the Falcons offseason... COACHING Atlanta has a new head coach. Those words should concern any Carolina Panthers fan who has paid attention to Ron Rivera's record against rookie head coaches. Adding insult to injury, the Falcons hired former Seattle DC Dan Quinn as Mike Smith's replacement at head coach. Quinn obviously has had success against the Panthers over the past two seasons. Panthers OC Mike Shula will have his work cut out for him. If Quinn can improve the Falcons defense in his first year, Atlanta could contend for the title in the NFC South. IN THE DRAFT The Falcons addressed their need for defensive improvement in the first two rounds of the draft. Falcons first round pick DE Vic Beasley should improve Atlanta's pass rush from day one. He was used mainly on the left side in Falcons workouts last month, but did switch to the right occasionally. Beasley's game is speed, how well the Panthers counter with Remmers and Oher remains to be seen. In the second round the Falcons selected CB Jalen Collins. This was a good value as many had Collins as a first round talent. Collins will most likely catch on quickly as he faces guys like Julio Jones in practice, helping him prepare to defense Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess. Collins was a good pick for the Falcons and should help them at depth initially, with Collins taking over a starting role later in the season. On the offensive side of the ball RB Tevin Coleman and WR (and Huddle favorite) WR Justin Hardy. Coleman could see increased playing time as the season progresses while Hardy looks to have already earned the #3 WR spot. Overall, Atlanta had a solid 2015 draft based on early reviews. FREE AGENCY The Falcons released a few names Panthers fans were used to seeing, Harry Douglas and Steven Jackson the most notable. The loss of these two players were addressed nicely in the draft. Negative impact should be minimal. OLB Brooks Reed was added from the Texans and could be a real impact player for the Falcons. How much did he benefit from playing with JJ Watt? We will soon see. Reed will not be playing behind anyone of Watt's caliber anytime soon in Atlanta. The Falcons extended S Charles Godfrey which is excellent news for the Panthers. Godfrey's best days are well behind him. The Falcons signed a couple of new tight ends, Tony Moeaki and Jacob Tamme. Could they be an adequate long term replacement for Tony Gonzalez? Clearly, Toilolo last season was not. OTHER TIDBITS Apparently, the Falcons are trying to move QB Matt Ryan out of the pocket more often. This is an interesting development to keep your eyes on. If the Falcons can give a few looks a game of Ryan rolling out of the pocket to throw it could change how aggressive the Panthers pass rush can be. CONCLUSION Like it or not, the Atlanta Falcons improved a good deal this offseason. Mike Smith was not a good head coach. This was obvious to anyone that watched "Hard Knocks" on HBO last year. Dan Quinn will bring a tougher more hard nosed attitude to the Falcons. What say you? View full article
  16. Over the coming weeks I will be comparing Carolina Panthers roster units from today and exactly one year ago. First up, the Carolina Panthers Offensive Line..... View full article
  17. Now that the Carolina Panthers offseason workouts are complete, here is my projected roster lineup based on first hand observations and reps received. Offense - 26 Quarterback - 2 Cam Newton Derek Anderson Running Back - 4 Jonathan Stewart Fozzy Whitaker Cameron Artis-Payne Jordan Todman Fullback - 1 Mike Tolbert Tight End - 3 Greg Olsen Ed Dickson Brandon Williams Wide Receiver - 6 Kelvin Benjamin Devin Funchess Corey Brown Ted Ginn Brenton Bersin Jerricho Cotchery Offensive Line - 10 Michael Oher Andrew Norwell Ryan Kalil Trai Turner Mike Remmers Jonathan Martin Daryl Williams Amini Silatolu Brian Folkerts Nate Chandler Defense - 24 Defensive Line - 8 Charles Johnson Star Lotulelei Kawaan Short Frank Alexander Kony Ealy Colin Cole Dwan Edwards Mario Addison Linebacker - 5 Thomas Davis Luke Kuechly Shaq Thompson Adarius Glanton David Mayo Safety - 5 Roman Harper Tre Boston Kurt Coleman Dean Marlowe Colin Jones Corners - 6 Josh Norman Bene Benwikere Charles Tillman Melvin White Carrington Byndom Teddy Williams Special Teams - 3 Kicker - Graham Gano Punter - Brad Nortman Long Snapper - JJ Jansen Practice Squad - 10 Lee Ward Garry Peters Damiere Byrd Brandon Wegher Terry Redden Martin Wallace David Foucault Rakim Cox Marcus Lucas Brian Blechen Notes: Panthers keep one less linebacker and one additional safety due to popularity of "Buffalo" package. Glanton currently higher on depth chart than Klein.CB Teddy Williams retained mostly for Special Teams abilities. Joe Webb not retained due to Cam Newton's improved health and other special teams additions added in offseason. All draft picks on regular roster until Gettleman shows otherwise. Nate Chandler retained for backup RT/G role. Versatility gets him a jersey. Brian Folkerts / Chris Scott position up in the air with Remmers taking backup center snaps. Folkerts as the only listed backup center on roster gets the spot for now. This is, by far, the most difficult year to make cuts to the roster in recent memory. Talent level is up, good players have to be released due to the numbers. Other teams will be signing cut Panthers players. View full article
  18. The Carolina Panthers finished their offseason workout in spirited fashion. This was one of the better practices to have witnessed. No punches were thrown, but it was exciting none the less. Here are the highlights... Konly Ealy impressed early with a reaching bat down of a Cam Newton pass. Could Ealy be using yesterday's fisticuffs at motivation?Starting corners today were Josh Norman and Peanut Tillman for the first half of practice, and then Benwikere replaced Tillman for the rest. Starting safeties were Tre Boston and Roman Harper.Josh Norman was very physical with Gamecocks rookie WR Damiere Byrd at the line, jamming him at the line. After the play, Josh would walk over to Byrd with encouragement, telling him what he did and how to counter it. Daryl Williams was the starting right tackle for most of the day. Mike Remmers spent time at center with the first and second unity. It is unclear if this is more than typical evaluation. TE Jamie Childers dropped a sure TD from Cam Newton. Not a great way to make an impression with the first team. Todman hauled in another nice touchdown from Derek Anderson out of the backfield. Todman has impressed as of late. CB Lou Young has looked less than average until today. He made a couple of nice plays on the ball. Bene Benwikere's quickness is an obvious asset to the Panthers. He is at the receiver instantly on Cam Newton check downs. Corey Brown again showed nice hands with an important sideline grab from Cam Newton. Devin Funchess also showed impressive hands today on a quick out from Cam Newton. Cam Newton had a couple of poor overthrows today to Ted Ginn, but Funchess is more difficult to place the ball out of reach for. A scary moment today happened when Cam Newton took a hard fall to the ground after slipping on the turf. There were many slips this year in practices for everyone.During the last first team drills, the offensive tackles were Martin and Williams. Jarrett Boykin dropped a sure TD from Cam Newton. Boykin tried to cradle the ball, but it bounced off his chest. Boykin has struggled throughout OTAs and Mini Camp. Damiere Byrd is looking like a keeper, at least on the practice squad. His snaps have been increasing as some others have been decreasing. He is taking full advantage of them. View full article
  19. I have no doubt you have heard about the punches thrown at practice today, so here are the other things you need to know about today's Panthers practice. ‚Äč View full article
  20. The Carolina Panthers offensive line depth chart has become a little more clear now that the OTA practices have come to an end and the Panthers Mini-Camp is set to begin. Here is how the depth chart is shaking out according to my eyes and notes... View full article
  21. The last OTA practice of 2015 was both the hottest and the practice with the least enthusiasm. With Ron Rivera in California for his daughters graduation, the Panthers seemed to lose focus. It showed both in their demeanor and on the field. It was a rough day for Cam Newton. After looking pristine for most of the OTA sessions, today he looked off kilter. Many of his end zone passes were high. His long throws either short or long. Colin Jones made the play of the day, intercepting Cam Newton in the red zone and taking it for what would have been a pick six. Cam Newton was visibly unhappy about the interception, and tried chasing Jones down.... without luck. Colin Jones also made a beautiful break on a ball from Newton later in the practice, nearly intercepting another ball meant for Ted Ginn on a curl route. Yes, Colin Jones is my player of the day. The first defensive player of the day I have named... which should tell you how the day went. Other Notes: - Brandon Williams struggled as he dropped a catchable 30 yard bomb from Cam Newton. Williams had both hands on the ball, but could not hold on. - Devin Funchess had more second string snaps today, due to Kelvin Benjamin being back on the field. Funchess did get a few first string reps in. When with the second string, he appeared to be running many of the same routes as Benjamin did with the first string. - Cam's sure fire connection to Greg Olsen was just not there today. Both targets in the end zone soared well above Olsen's head. - Both linebacker draft picks, Thompson and Mayo, spent time in the second string together. - Stephen Hill mainly played with the second string, no plays of note to mention. View full article
  22. Fact: Brenton Bersin has been one of the more impressive receivers again this offseason. Fact: Brenton Bersin appears to still be one of Cam Newton's favorite targets. Yet, fans are completely split on their excitement level over Bersin. Some recognize the work he has put in and admire the job he has done. Others believe he is the product of favoritism and doesn't deserve the first team reps he is receiving (and crushing, btw). Well, it is time to clear the air a bit. On the opinion that Bersin is on the team out of some sort of favoritism. While it is true that his Wofford and rumored Jerry Richardson connection may have played a role in his invitation to rookie camp years ago, every snap he has received since then has been earned. The Panthers have had plenty of "feel good" rookie camp invitations over the years. Bersin is the only one to have stuck. He did it by working hard and earning it. Not by his draft status, not by his 40 time, but by simply getting out there and catching passes. On the misconception that Bersin is not an adequate game day player. I will be the first to admit that Bersin may not be the best choice on punt returns. Heck, I think even Bersin would admit to that. But after being thrown into the punt return role last year (Bersin had no punt return reps in camp or preseason), his performance was at best unspectacular. The problem here is that is a position he should have been put in to begin with. But, to his credit, he did what he was asked and special teams turnovers decreased as a result. As a receiver, Bersin is a solid third down over the middle possession receiver and should be treated as such. At 6'3 he has the size to fight for the ball, as he did last season. Bersin had crucial first down catches last season, some fans seem to forget that. His short comings as a receiver occurred when he was not being used to this strengths (Bubble screen to Bersin? First read in the playoffs?). I find it difficult to fault him there. If Bersin was a third or fourth round player from a large school and a fast 40 time, fans would be tripping over themselves right now to praise his potential based on his 2014 production. Instead, Bersin again will need to shake the UDFA small school type casting to earn the respect of the fans, which is a shame. But, he will do so, quietly and confidently, earning every snap..... again this season.
  23. Next to the wide receiver position, the Carolina Panthers running backs may have the most competition to deal with this offseason as any other unit. This year's Panthers edition of runners are a close knit group, possibly closer than years past. Over the past few months I have been wondering if the departure of Deangelo Williams would have a negative effect on the chemistry of the runners group. To my eyes the opposite is true. The players are more upbeat and eager to work than ever before. My article about Mike Tolbert playing quarterback recently highlights this. If you ever have been in an office where someone was not happy with the company, you know what effect it can have on morale. Why should this be any different in football? Individually, here is how things are shaping up for the ball carriers.... Read the Full Article
  24. The offensive line has seen a few changes in week three of the Carolina Panthers OTA practices. One of those changes puts #77 back in at the left tackle positions. Instead of Byron Bell, this time is was Martin Wallace. Wallace moved up to second string left offensive tackle for a few plays. While this doesn't sound like a major accomplishment for Wallace, it actually is. Getting second string reps is something some players will never see in camp. So who is Martin Wallace? Listed at 6'6 and 330lbs, Wallace played college ball at Northeastern and Temple. As a senior he made the second team All-Big East Conference team. Wallace came into the league at 305lbs. His added bulk may be by the direction of David Gettleman, but that is speculation on my part. Wallace was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an UDFA back in 2013. He was then released and signed to Carolina's practice squad last October. As of now, it looks like Wallace has leap frogged Canadian project David Foucault, who hasn't seen any time with the second string (at least on media days).
  25. After two weeks of OTA practices, here is how the wide receiver depth chart is shaping up according to number of snaps and targets on media days..... View full article
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