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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
  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 u
  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 lo
  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
  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 Core
  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 Panthe
  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 McDe
  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 an
  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 oppo
  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
  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
  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
  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 im
  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
  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 Silato
  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 Dam
  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 abou
  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 Je
  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
  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
  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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