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Training Camp Observations: 7/31


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2 hours ago, DaveThePanther2008 said:

Agreed.  Mahomes and Rodgers have a special way of manuevering in the pocket and making exceptional throws.  Backbreakers.

Exactly.  Pocket awareness and just mobility in the pocket is much more important than actual speed and being able to scramble for yardage.

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15 hours ago, Seltzer said:

General Observations:

  • Nice crowd out there tonight and good energy.  People are excited to engage with the team, even if it's in a limited capacity, and then team seemed to feed off of it.  Can't wait to get back to BOA and a live game.
  • Practice was upbeat, fast-paced, and well-ran.  It's been a few years since I have been to training camp, but there seemed to be more urgency than some of the practices I went to under Rivera.  In a little less than 2 hours, the team practiced KR/PR coverage, multiple individual position group drills, one-on-ones, a round of 7-on-7, 2 rounds of 11-on-11, and FG's.  No wasted time and no standing around- guys had things to work on from the time stretching ended until the final horn with short scheduled breaks.
  • There was a prevailing sense that this was a serious business endeavor and there were objectives to be accomplished, which was another thing it sometimes seemed lacking in some Rivera practices.  Coaches were everywhere and giving instruction from the position coaches and assistants all the way up to Snow, Brady, & Rhule.  Brady especially was giving direction to the QB's (Darnold, Walker, Grier) between every team rep when they were out there.
  • Beyond that, there were assistants taking notes between every rep for each position group, there were multiple videographers, up to a guy timing how long between snap-to-release for the QB's.  Analytics are here and guys know they are being measured and evaluated on every rep, and I think it showed in the effort.
  • Rhule has kept his promise of competition for every position and an opportunity for guys to get a legitimate chance to show what they can do, and it's another thing I think that contributes to the culture he is trying to build.  Rhule does a lot of mixing giving the 2nd teams guy some reps mixed in with the 1st team and the 3rd team guys reps with the 2nd team.
  • Two guys that are fighting for roster spots that stuck out to me: Troy Pride (who downed the ball at the 1 yard line on a punt coverage drill) and Greg Little (he's got an uphill climb to make the roster, but he looked like he had a mean streak out there and wasn't half-assing drills).  Both guys know they're not guaranteed anything with Matt Rhule.
  • Finally, it's impossible to see anywhere close to everything going on out there with how fast-paced it was, and the linemen especially were on the far sides of the field.  That made it hard to see much except when they were in team drills (although a guy near me pointed out to me on a couple of times where Derrick Brown just mauled the offensive linemen he was going against in O-Line vs. D-Line drills.

Individual Observations:

  • Sam Darnold looks like he has good command of the offense.  He is a big dude, and has above average mobility which he showed off a couple of times. Sam has a strong arm and can push the ball down the field.  He was a mixed bag tonight IMO, making some really good throws and a couple of bad ones.  I didn't see any bad decisions though.  He did a good job navigating the pocket in the team drills under constant pressure (a common theme below) and will hang in the pocket unlike Walker & Grier which were way too quick to bail IMO.   Darnold is a big step above PJ Walker and Will Grier.  Unfortunately, this may be more of an indictment of Walker & Grier than anything.  I think Darnold can and will do well if the offensive line can hold up.  That's not something I'm confident about just yet after what I saw tonight, although tonight was not full pads which does put the offensive line at a disadvantage.
  • PJ Walker to me looks like the clear backup, and I can't see any reason to keep 3 QB's this season which means Grier will be cut IMO.  PJ was a mixed bag tonight too but did make the play of the night when he made an incredible scramble and found Ventell Bryant for a 50 yard-ish TD.
  • Will Grier made some really great throws in the one-on-ones (including a 45 yard teardrop to Robby), but it still seems like the game just moves too fast in a live environment.  He has plenty of arm and has good accuracy when not pressured, but to me he has the lowest ceiling and that roster spot will be more valuable elsewhere.  All the QB's were under pressure in 11-on-11, but Will was way either way too quick to bail or stayed too long without navigating and took what would be a sack.  Like I said, just seems too fast.
  • CMC- incredible shape, superior in all position group drills, just an all-around beast and an incredible outlet for Darnold, who may throw the ball to him 100 times if this O-line doesn't gel.
  • Hubbard- got quite a few 1st team reps.  Him and Reggie Bonnafon seem to be the favorites to round out the RB depth.  Hubbard or Cannon will be the KR.
  • Trenton Cannon- He was the 1st KR up and has been spending all camp so far with the receivers.  Think he has an underrated chance to be RB4/WR7.  
  • Dan Arnold- One really nice catch in team drills.  Really good speed and can hopefully be a red zone threat.
  • Tommy Tremble- Violent in the blocking drills.  Better as a receiver than I thought, although he did drop a great 2nd 

Great write up. Thank you 

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16 hours ago, Seltzer said:

General Observations:

  • Nice crowd out there tonight and good energy.  People are excited to engage with the team, even if it's in a limited capacity, and then team seemed to feed off of it.  Can't wait to get back to BOA and a live game.
  • Practice was upbeat, fast-paced, and well-ran.  It's been a few years since I have been to training camp, but there seemed to be more urgency than some of the practices I went to under Rivera.  In a little less than 2 hours, the team practiced KR/PR coverage, multiple individual position group drills, one-on-ones, a round of 7-on-7, 2 rounds of 11-on-11, and FG's.  No wasted time and no standing around- guys had things to work on from the time stretching ended until the final horn with short scheduled breaks.
  • There was a prevailing sense that this was a serious business endeavor and there were objectives to be accomplished, which was another thing it sometimes seemed lacking in some Rivera practices.  Coaches were everywhere and giving instruction from the position coaches and assistants all the way up to Snow, Brady, & Rhule.  Brady especially was giving direction to the QB's (Darnold, Walker, Grier) between every team rep when they were out there.
  • Beyond that, there were assistants taking notes between every rep for each position group, there were multiple videographers, up to a guy timing how long between snap-to-release for the QB's.  Analytics are here and guys know they are being measured and evaluated on every rep, and I think it showed in the effort.
  • Rhule has kept his promise of competition for every position and an opportunity for guys to get a legitimate chance to show what they can do, and it's another thing I think that contributes to the culture he is trying to build.  Rhule does a lot of mixing giving the 2nd teams guy some reps mixed in with the 1st team and the 3rd team guys reps with the 2nd team.
  • Two guys that are fighting for roster spots that stuck out to me: Troy Pride (who downed the ball at the 1 yard line on a punt coverage drill) and Greg Little (he's got an uphill climb to make the roster, but he looked like he had a mean streak out there and wasn't half-assing drills).  Both guys know they're not guaranteed anything with Matt Rhule.
  • Finally, it's impossible to see anywhere close to everything going on out there with how fast-paced it was, and the linemen especially were on the far sides of the field.  That made it hard to see much except when they were in team drills (although a guy near me pointed out to me on a couple of times where Derrick Brown just mauled the offensive linemen he was going against in O-Line vs. D-Line drills.

Individual Observations:

  • Sam Darnold looks like he has good command of the offense.  He is a big dude, and has above average mobility which he showed off a couple of times. Sam has a strong arm and can push the ball down the field.  He was a mixed bag tonight IMO, making some really good throws and a couple of bad ones.  I didn't see any bad decisions though.  He did a good job navigating the pocket in the team drills under constant pressure (a common theme below) and will hang in the pocket unlike Walker & Grier which were way too quick to bail IMO.   Darnold is a big step above PJ Walker and Will Grier.  Unfortunately, this may be more of an indictment of Walker & Grier than anything.  I think Darnold can and will do well if the offensive line can hold up.  That's not something I'm confident about just yet after what I saw tonight, although tonight was not full pads which does put the offensive line at a disadvantage.
  • PJ Walker to me looks like the clear backup, and I can't see any reason to keep 3 QB's this season which means Grier will be cut IMO.  PJ was a mixed bag tonight too but did make the play of the night when he made an incredible scramble and found Ventell Bryant for a 50 yard-ish TD.
  • Will Grier made some really great throws in the one-on-ones (including a 45 yard teardrop to Robby), but it still seems like the game just moves too fast in a live environment.  He has plenty of arm and has good accuracy when not pressured, but to me he has the lowest ceiling and that roster spot will be more valuable elsewhere.  All the QB's were under pressure in 11-on-11, but Will was way either way too quick to bail or stayed too long without navigating and took what would be a sack.  Like I said, just seems too fast.
  • CMC- incredible shape, superior in all position group drills, just an all-around beast and an incredible outlet for Darnold, who may throw the ball to him 100 times if this O-line doesn't gel.
  • Hubbard- got quite a few 1st team reps.  Him and Reggie Bonnafon seem to be the favorites to round out the RB depth.  Hubbard or Cannon will be the KR.
  • Trenton Cannon- He was the 1st KR up and has been spending all camp so far with the receivers.  Think he has an underrated chance to be RB4/WR7.  
  • Dan Arnold- One really nice catch in team drills.  Really good speed and can hopefully be a red zone threat.
  • Tommy Tremble- Violent in the blocking drills.  Better as a receiver than I thought, although he did drop a great 2nd level throw that Darnold dropped into him.  Still, has the potential to be an all-around great TE.
  • Ian Thomas- In great shape, and is a beast of a physical specimen.  Saw him make a good catch and make an inexcusable drop.  The potential is there, and he's still a clear step above the remaining TE's, but he hasn't put it together yet.  Like Grier, I think it is more mental than physical.
  • Colin Thompson- Only mention him b/c I think he's the only other TE that has a chance.  Decent receiving and speed from what I saw, but the only way he makes it above Thomas would be if the coaching staff just doesn't think the potential is worth another year.
  • Robby Anderson- Has the swagger and game to back it up.  Made the catch of the day with a one-handed TD grab in one-on-ones.  Best Panthers receiver I've seen since Smitty in terms of how well he sets himself up for YAC in how he positions himself for the catch.  
  • DJ Moore- Is really displaying the kind of confidence we all want to see from him.  Goes right at Jaycee Horn & Donte Jackson.  He is a quiet alpha.  Made several great catches including an incredible sideline grab against Jeremy Chinn.
  • Terrance Marshall- Is much bigger than I imagined.  Looks way more like DJ Metcalf than Robby Anderson physique-wise.  Saw some good catches but nothing spectacular that I saw tonight.  The thought of Marshall being Moose 2.0 and DJ being Smitty 2.0 is pretty cool.
  • David Moore- Again, some nice catches but nothing great tonight.  Has some wheels.
  • Omar Bayless- I really think he has a chance to be the WR5.  Had a couple of really nice catches (and drops) that I saw, but he was constantly getting separation.  Could be a good red zone target.
  • Keith Kirkwood- Sneakily racked up several catches in the team period.  Think he's competing him Brandon Zylstra, Shi Smith, etc. for the 6th and I think final WR spot.  Bottom line is we have a good problem to have at WR.  There were several other bottom of the roster guys with nice catches tonight sprinkled in also.  I wish we had the depth problems at O Line we appear to have at WR.
  • Offensive Linemen- I want to reiterate that the O-Line is set up for failure early on in training camp to a certain extent, since defenses are typically further ahead early on top of the fact this practice wasn't fully padded which helps the O-Lineman slow D-Linemen down more, so it's not a house-is-on-fire moment.  Still, to the naked eye it didn't look great even accounting for that.  And while it's hard to take too much notice of any one O-linemen during a play, I did focus on Brady Christensen and he was a rock (granted mostly against 3rd string guys).  Hopefully he can move up against better talent and still look that good.
  • Taylor Moton- Went to greet Brian Burns before practice during warm-ups.  Respect among 2 of the best players on the team.  Reminded me of Julius Peppers and Jordan Gross (Iron sharpens Iron) back in the day.  
  • Jaycee Horn- Saw him make an incredible one-handed catch before practice started on a random ball thrown at him.  Looks the part.  Didn't really notice him this practice, but that means I didn't see him give up any catches during team drills.
  • Donte Jackson- Seems to be the vocal leader of the secondary.  Can absolutely fly, and it's important he stays healthy if the team is going to have success this year.  He's not perfect and gives up some passes, but he is a competitor against Robby & DJ, never backs down, and holds his own for the most part.
  • AJ Bouye- Really didn't notice him much, but did see him talking to Phil Snow several times.  Had a nice breakup against Terrance Marshall in one-on-ones.
  • Jeremy Chinn- Didn't notice him much either (mostly focused on offensive guys), but he did all the drills that I saw with the defensive backs group.  He is a physical specimen also.
  • Keith Taylor- Was getting reps over Troy Pride.  Was playing with an edge out there for it not to be a padded practice.  Big corner.
  • Hassan Reddick- Worked exclusively with the LB's.  Was used as a pass rusher some during team drills.  Had some good pressures but nothing that would have been sack although limited reps.
  • Top Linebackers are Reddick, Shaq Thompson (who has noticeably bulked up), Jermaine Carter, and Denzel Perrymen.  Not sure who is out in more traditional 4-3 looks.  Don't know enough to make any judgements about the LB depth beyond that.  Julian Stanford had some nice pass rushes in his reps.
  • Brian Burns- Absolute terror.  Would have had at least 2 sacks tonight.  If he has any help at all he may be in double digit sacks by midseason.  
  • Derrick Brown- Him and the other DT's were collapsing the pocket and stuffing the run during team drills.  Brown would have had a sack-will be a disappointment if him and Burns are not both Pro-Bowlers.  Daquan Jones is a big man, too.  Definitely have some bulk in the middle.
  • Joe Charlton- Absolutely booming punts- hopefully we've found a long-term guy there.
  • Joey Slye- The ball sounds like a rocket coming off his foot.  If he can get the mental part down, he has leg to kick for a decade plus.  Both kickers looked good tonight.

It was exciting seeing the team live again for the first time in over a year-and-a-half.  There is some really good, young talent on this team. 

Robby, DJ, and CMC are elite offensive weapons.  Terrance Marshall, Dan Arnold, and Tommy Tremble have the potential to help out this offense over the top. Sam Darnold gives me hope this season can be different from the last few.  He had poise and command out there even when the line was breaking down, and even though he missed a couple of throws, he also made several that Bridgewater simply couldn't.  His arm talent is undeniable.

On defense, Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, Jeremy Chinn, and Jaycee Horn are all elite talents.  Yetur Gross-Matos, Hassan Reddick, Marquis Haynes, Jermaine Carter, and Donte Jackson are all poised for potential breakout years.  Phil Snow has the group playing with an edge.  There were only a couple of deep shots during team drills b/c the defense was all over the QB.  Top 10 should not be an unrealistic goal for this group.

To me, at least based on tonight, the success of the season will come down on how well the offensive line plays.  I don't think Sam Darnold will be the one holding the team back.  If the line protects him, I believe he will win with the weapons and coaching we have.  The defense looks solid and the best on paper we have had since 2017.  The talent we have now along with Phil Snow's coaching won't be holding anybody back either.

Hopefully come Monday when the pads come on and "real football practice" begins, Rhule can find some guys that can slow down what appears to be a ferocious pass rush.  Our season depends on it.

Appreciate the in-depth analysis man. 

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18 hours ago, Seltzer said:

General Observations:

  • Nice crowd out there tonight and good energy.  People are excited to engage with the team, even if it's in a limited capacity, and then team seemed to feed off of it.  Can't wait to get back to BOA and a live game.
  • Practice was upbeat, fast-paced, and well-ran.  It's been a few years since I have been to training camp, but there seemed to be more urgency than some of the practices I went to under Rivera.  In a little less than 2 hours, the team practiced KR/PR coverage, multiple individual position group drills, one-on-ones, a round of 7-on-7, 2 rounds of 11-on-11, and FG's.  No wasted time and no standing around- guys had things to work on from the time stretching ended until the final horn with short scheduled breaks.
  • There was a prevailing sense that this was a serious business endeavor and there were objectives to be accomplished, which was another thing it sometimes seemed lacking in some Rivera practices.  Coaches were everywhere and giving instruction from the position coaches and assistants all the way up to Snow, Brady, & Rhule.  Brady especially was giving direction to the QB's (Darnold, Walker, Grier) between every team rep when they were out there.
  • Beyond that, there were assistants taking notes between every rep for each position group, there were multiple videographers, up to a guy timing how long between snap-to-release for the QB's.  Analytics are here and guys know they are being measured and evaluated on every rep, and I think it showed in the effort.
  • Rhule has kept his promise of competition for every position and an opportunity for guys to get a legitimate chance to show what they can do, and it's another thing I think that contributes to the culture he is trying to build.  Rhule does a lot of mixing giving the 2nd teams guy some reps mixed in with the 1st team and the 3rd team guys reps with the 2nd team.
  • Two guys that are fighting for roster spots that stuck out to me: Troy Pride (who downed the ball at the 1 yard line on a punt coverage drill) and Greg Little (he's got an uphill climb to make the roster, but he looked like he had a mean streak out there and wasn't half-assing drills).  Both guys know they're not guaranteed anything with Matt Rhule.
  • Finally, it's impossible to see anywhere close to everything going on out there with how fast-paced it was, and the linemen especially were on the far sides of the field.  That made it hard to see much except when they were in team drills (although a guy near me pointed out to me on a couple of times where Derrick Brown just mauled the offensive linemen he was going against in O-Line vs. D-Line drills.

Individual Observations:

  • Sam Darnold looks like he has good command of the offense.  He is a big dude, and has above average mobility which he showed off a couple of times. Sam has a strong arm and can push the ball down the field.  He was a mixed bag tonight IMO, making some really good throws and a couple of bad ones.  I didn't see any bad decisions though.  He did a good job navigating the pocket in the team drills under constant pressure (a common theme below) and will hang in the pocket unlike Walker & Grier which were way too quick to bail IMO.   Darnold is a big step above PJ Walker and Will Grier.  Unfortunately, this may be more of an indictment of Walker & Grier than anything.  I think Darnold can and will do well if the offensive line can hold up.  That's not something I'm confident about just yet after what I saw tonight, although tonight was not full pads which does put the offensive line at a disadvantage.
  • PJ Walker to me looks like the clear backup, and I can't see any reason to keep 3 QB's this season which means Grier will be cut IMO.  PJ was a mixed bag tonight too but did make the play of the night when he made an incredible scramble and found Ventell Bryant for a 50 yard-ish TD.
  • Will Grier made some really great throws in the one-on-ones (including a 45 yard teardrop to Robby), but it still seems like the game just moves too fast in a live environment.  He has plenty of arm and has good accuracy when not pressured, but to me he has the lowest ceiling and that roster spot will be more valuable elsewhere.  All the QB's were under pressure in 11-on-11, but Will was way either way too quick to bail or stayed too long without navigating and took what would be a sack.  Like I said, just seems too fast.
  • CMC- incredible shape, superior in all position group drills, just an all-around beast and an incredible outlet for Darnold, who may throw the ball to him 100 times if this O-line doesn't gel.
  • Hubbard- got quite a few 1st team reps.  Him and Reggie Bonnafon seem to be the favorites to round out the RB depth.  Hubbard or Cannon will be the KR.
  • Trenton Cannon- He was the 1st KR up and has been spending all camp so far with the receivers.  Think he has an underrated chance to be RB4/WR7.  
  • Dan Arnold- One really nice catch in team drills.  Really good speed and can hopefully be a red zone threat.
  • Tommy Tremble- Violent in the blocking drills.  Better as a receiver than I thought, although he did drop a great 2nd level throw that Darnold dropped into him.  Still, has the potential to be an all-around great TE.
  • Ian Thomas- In great shape, and is a beast of a physical specimen.  Saw him make a good catch and make an inexcusable drop.  The potential is there, and he's still a clear step above the remaining TE's, but he hasn't put it together yet.  Like Grier, I think it is more mental than physical.
  • Colin Thompson- Only mention him b/c I think he's the only other TE that has a chance.  Decent receiving and speed from what I saw, but the only way he makes it above Thomas would be if the coaching staff just doesn't think the potential is worth another year.
  • Robby Anderson- Has the swagger and game to back it up.  Made the catch of the day with a one-handed TD grab in one-on-ones.  Best Panthers receiver I've seen since Smitty in terms of how well he sets himself up for YAC in how he positions himself for the catch.  
  • DJ Moore- Is really displaying the kind of confidence we all want to see from him.  Goes right at Jaycee Horn & Donte Jackson.  He is a quiet alpha.  Made several great catches including an incredible sideline grab against Jeremy Chinn.
  • Terrance Marshall- Is much bigger than I imagined.  Looks way more like DJ Metcalf than Robby Anderson physique-wise.  Saw some good catches but nothing spectacular that I saw tonight.  The thought of Marshall being Moose 2.0 and DJ being Smitty 2.0 is pretty cool.
  • David Moore- Again, some nice catches but nothing great tonight.  Has some wheels.
  • Omar Bayless- I really think he has a chance to be the WR5.  Had a couple of really nice catches (and drops) that I saw, but he was constantly getting separation.  Could be a good red zone target.
  • Keith Kirkwood- Sneakily racked up several catches in the team period.  Think he's competing him Brandon Zylstra, Shi Smith, etc. for the 6th and I think final WR spot.  Bottom line is we have a good problem to have at WR.  There were several other bottom of the roster guys with nice catches tonight sprinkled in also.  I wish we had the depth problems at O Line we appear to have at WR.
  • Offensive Linemen- I want to reiterate that the O-Line is set up for failure early on in training camp to a certain extent, since defenses are typically further ahead early on top of the fact this practice wasn't fully padded which helps the O-Lineman slow D-Linemen down more, so it's not a house-is-on-fire moment.  Still, to the naked eye it didn't look great even accounting for that.  And while it's hard to take too much notice of any one O-linemen during a play, I did focus on Brady Christensen and he was a rock (granted mostly against 3rd string guys).  Hopefully he can move up against better talent and still look that good.
  • Taylor Moton- Went to greet Brian Burns before practice during warm-ups.  Respect among 2 of the best players on the team.  Reminded me of Julius Peppers and Jordan Gross (Iron sharpens Iron) back in the day.  
  • Jaycee Horn- Saw him make an incredible one-handed catch before practice started on a random ball thrown at him.  Looks the part.  Didn't really notice him this practice, but that means I didn't see him give up any catches during team drills.
  • Donte Jackson- Seems to be the vocal leader of the secondary.  Can absolutely fly, and it's important he stays healthy if the team is going to have success this year.  He's not perfect and gives up some passes, but he is a competitor against Robby & DJ, never backs down, and holds his own for the most part.
  • AJ Bouye- Really didn't notice him much, but did see him talking to Phil Snow several times.  Had a nice breakup against Terrance Marshall in one-on-ones.
  • Jeremy Chinn- Didn't notice him much either (mostly focused on offensive guys), but he did all the drills that I saw with the defensive backs group.  He is a physical specimen also.
  • Keith Taylor- Was getting reps over Troy Pride.  Was playing with an edge out there for it not to be a padded practice.  Big corner.
  • Hassan Reddick- Worked exclusively with the LB's.  Was used as a pass rusher some during team drills.  Had some good pressures but nothing that would have been sack although limited reps.
  • Top Linebackers are Reddick, Shaq Thompson (who has noticeably bulked up), Jermaine Carter, and Denzel Perrymen.  Not sure who is out in more traditional 4-3 looks.  Don't know enough to make any judgements about the LB depth beyond that.  Julian Stanford had some nice pass rushes in his reps.
  • Brian Burns- Absolute terror.  Would have had at least 2 sacks tonight.  If he has any help at all he may be in double digit sacks by midseason.  
  • Derrick Brown- Him and the other DT's were collapsing the pocket and stuffing the run during team drills.  Brown would have had a sack-will be a disappointment if him and Burns are not both Pro-Bowlers.  Daquan Jones is a big man, too.  Definitely have some bulk in the middle.
  • Joe Charlton- Absolutely booming punts- hopefully we've found a long-term guy there.
  • Joey Slye- The ball sounds like a rocket coming off his foot.  If he can get the mental part down, he has leg to kick for a decade plus.  Both kickers looked good tonight.

It was exciting seeing the team live again for the first time in over a year-and-a-half.  There is some really good, young talent on this team. 

Robby, DJ, and CMC are elite offensive weapons.  Terrance Marshall, Dan Arnold, and Tommy Tremble have the potential to help out this offense over the top. Sam Darnold gives me hope this season can be different from the last few.  He had poise and command out there even when the line was breaking down, and even though he missed a couple of throws, he also made several that Bridgewater simply couldn't.  His arm talent is undeniable.

On defense, Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, Jeremy Chinn, and Jaycee Horn are all elite talents.  Yetur Gross-Matos, Hassan Reddick, Marquis Haynes, Jermaine Carter, and Donte Jackson are all poised for potential breakout years.  Phil Snow has the group playing with an edge.  There were only a couple of deep shots during team drills b/c the defense was all over the QB.  Top 10 should not be an unrealistic goal for this group.

To me, at least based on tonight, the success of the season will come down on how well the offensive line plays.  I don't think Sam Darnold will be the one holding the team back.  If the line protects him, I believe he will win with the weapons and coaching we have.  The defense looks solid and the best on paper we have had since 2017.  The talent we have now along with Phil Snow's coaching won't be holding anybody back either.

Hopefully come Monday when the pads come on and "real football practice" begins, Rhule can find some guys that can slow down what appears to be a ferocious pass rush.  Our season depends on it.

Xontent overLOADDDDDD!!!!!

Neil Degrasse Tyson Hello GIF

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11 hours ago, Tbe said:

My big concern with this D is who is running it on the field. Luke was always the guy getting everyone in position etc. Who is that guy now?

Underrated comment. Who is also the emotional leader(in reference to TD)? 

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19 hours ago, Seltzer said:

General Observations:

  • Nice crowd out there tonight and good energy.  People are excited to engage with the team, even if it's in a limited capacity, and then team seemed to feed off of it.  Can't wait to get back to BOA and a live game.
  • Practice was upbeat, fast-paced, and well-ran.  It's been a few years since I have been to training camp, but there seemed to be more urgency than some of the practices I went to under Rivera.  In a little less than 2 hours, the team practiced KR/PR coverage, multiple individual position group drills, one-on-ones, a round of 7-on-7, 2 rounds of 11-on-11, and FG's.  No wasted time and no standing around- guys had things to work on from the time stretching ended until the final horn with short scheduled breaks.
  • There was a prevailing sense that this was a serious business endeavor and there were objectives to be accomplished, which was another thing it sometimes seemed lacking in some Rivera practices.  Coaches were everywhere and giving instruction from the position coaches and assistants all the way up to Snow, Brady, & Rhule.  Brady especially was giving direction to the QB's (Darnold, Walker, Grier) between every team rep when they were out there.
  • Beyond that, there were assistants taking notes between every rep for each position group, there were multiple videographers, up to a guy timing how long between snap-to-release for the QB's.  Analytics are here and guys know they are being measured and evaluated on every rep, and I think it showed in the effort.
  • Rhule has kept his promise of competition for every position and an opportunity for guys to get a legitimate chance to show what they can do, and it's another thing I think that contributes to the culture he is trying to build.  Rhule does a lot of mixing giving the 2nd teams guy some reps mixed in with the 1st team and the 3rd team guys reps with the 2nd team.
  • Two guys that are fighting for roster spots that stuck out to me: Troy Pride (who downed the ball at the 1 yard line on a punt coverage drill) and Greg Little (he's got an uphill climb to make the roster, but he looked like he had a mean streak out there and wasn't half-assing drills).  Both guys know they're not guaranteed anything with Matt Rhule.
  • Finally, it's impossible to see anywhere close to everything going on out there with how fast-paced it was, and the linemen especially were on the far sides of the field.  That made it hard to see much except when they were in team drills (although a guy near me pointed out to me on a couple of times where Derrick Brown just mauled the offensive linemen he was going against in O-Line vs. D-Line drills.

Individual Observations:

  • Sam Darnold looks like he has good command of the offense.  He is a big dude, and has above average mobility which he showed off a couple of times. Sam has a strong arm and can push the ball down the field.  He was a mixed bag tonight IMO, making some really good throws and a couple of bad ones.  I didn't see any bad decisions though.  He did a good job navigating the pocket in the team drills under constant pressure (a common theme below) and will hang in the pocket unlike Walker & Grier which were way too quick to bail IMO.   Darnold is a big step above PJ Walker and Will Grier.  Unfortunately, this may be more of an indictment of Walker & Grier than anything.  I think Darnold can and will do well if the offensive line can hold up.  That's not something I'm confident about just yet after what I saw tonight, although tonight was not full pads which does put the offensive line at a disadvantage.
  • PJ Walker to me looks like the clear backup, and I can't see any reason to keep 3 QB's this season which means Grier will be cut IMO.  PJ was a mixed bag tonight too but did make the play of the night when he made an incredible scramble and found Ventell Bryant for a 50 yard-ish TD.
  • Will Grier made some really great throws in the one-on-ones (including a 45 yard teardrop to Robby), but it still seems like the game just moves too fast in a live environment.  He has plenty of arm and has good accuracy when not pressured, but to me he has the lowest ceiling and that roster spot will be more valuable elsewhere.  All the QB's were under pressure in 11-on-11, but Will was way either way too quick to bail or stayed too long without navigating and took what would be a sack.  Like I said, just seems too fast.
  • CMC- incredible shape, superior in all position group drills, just an all-around beast and an incredible outlet for Darnold, who may throw the ball to him 100 times if this O-line doesn't gel.
  • Hubbard- got quite a few 1st team reps.  Him and Reggie Bonnafon seem to be the favorites to round out the RB depth.  Hubbard or Cannon will be the KR.
  • Trenton Cannon- He was the 1st KR up and has been spending all camp so far with the receivers.  Think he has an underrated chance to be RB4/WR7.  
  • Dan Arnold- One really nice catch in team drills.  Really good speed and can hopefully be a red zone threat.
  • Tommy Tremble- Violent in the blocking drills.  Better as a receiver than I thought, although he did drop a great 2nd level throw that Darnold dropped into him.  Still, has the potential to be an all-around great TE.
  • Ian Thomas- In great shape, and is a beast of a physical specimen.  Saw him make a good catch and make an inexcusable drop.  The potential is there, and he's still a clear step above the remaining TE's, but he hasn't put it together yet.  Like Grier, I think it is more mental than physical.
  • Colin Thompson- Only mention him b/c I think he's the only other TE that has a chance.  Decent receiving and speed from what I saw, but the only way he makes it above Thomas would be if the coaching staff just doesn't think the potential is worth another year.
  • Robby Anderson- Has the swagger and game to back it up.  Made the catch of the day with a one-handed TD grab in one-on-ones.  Best Panthers receiver I've seen since Smitty in terms of how well he sets himself up for YAC in how he positions himself for the catch.  
  • DJ Moore- Is really displaying the kind of confidence we all want to see from him.  Goes right at Jaycee Horn & Donte Jackson.  He is a quiet alpha.  Made several great catches including an incredible sideline grab against Jeremy Chinn.
  • Terrance Marshall- Is much bigger than I imagined.  Looks way more like DJ Metcalf than Robby Anderson physique-wise.  Saw some good catches but nothing spectacular that I saw tonight.  The thought of Marshall being Moose 2.0 and DJ being Smitty 2.0 is pretty cool.
  • David Moore- Again, some nice catches but nothing great tonight.  Has some wheels.
  • Omar Bayless- I really think he has a chance to be the WR5.  Had a couple of really nice catches (and drops) that I saw, but he was constantly getting separation.  Could be a good red zone target.
  • Keith Kirkwood- Sneakily racked up several catches in the team period.  Think he's competing him Brandon Zylstra, Shi Smith, etc. for the 6th and I think final WR spot.  Bottom line is we have a good problem to have at WR.  There were several other bottom of the roster guys with nice catches tonight sprinkled in also.  I wish we had the depth problems at O Line we appear to have at WR.
  • Offensive Linemen- I want to reiterate that the O-Line is set up for failure early on in training camp to a certain extent, since defenses are typically further ahead early on top of the fact this practice wasn't fully padded which helps the O-Lineman slow D-Linemen down more, so it's not a house-is-on-fire moment.  Still, to the naked eye it didn't look great even accounting for that.  And while it's hard to take too much notice of any one O-linemen during a play, I did focus on Brady Christensen and he was a rock (granted mostly against 3rd string guys).  Hopefully he can move up against better talent and still look that good.
  • Taylor Moton- Went to greet Brian Burns before practice during warm-ups.  Respect among 2 of the best players on the team.  Reminded me of Julius Peppers and Jordan Gross (Iron sharpens Iron) back in the day.  
  • Jaycee Horn- Saw him make an incredible one-handed catch before practice started on a random ball thrown at him.  Looks the part.  Didn't really notice him this practice, but that means I didn't see him give up any catches during team drills.
  • Donte Jackson- Seems to be the vocal leader of the secondary.  Can absolutely fly, and it's important he stays healthy if the team is going to have success this year.  He's not perfect and gives up some passes, but he is a competitor against Robby & DJ, never backs down, and holds his own for the most part.
  • AJ Bouye- Really didn't notice him much, but did see him talking to Phil Snow several times.  Had a nice breakup against Terrance Marshall in one-on-ones.
  • Jeremy Chinn- Didn't notice him much either (mostly focused on offensive guys), but he did all the drills that I saw with the defensive backs group.  He is a physical specimen also.
  • Keith Taylor- Was getting reps over Troy Pride.  Was playing with an edge out there for it not to be a padded practice.  Big corner.
  • Hassan Reddick- Worked exclusively with the LB's.  Was used as a pass rusher some during team drills.  Had some good pressures but nothing that would have been sack although limited reps.
  • Top Linebackers are Reddick, Shaq Thompson (who has noticeably bulked up), Jermaine Carter, and Denzel Perrymen.  Not sure who is out in more traditional 4-3 looks.  Don't know enough to make any judgements about the LB depth beyond that.  Julian Stanford had some nice pass rushes in his reps.
  • Brian Burns- Absolute terror.  Would have had at least 2 sacks tonight.  If he has any help at all he may be in double digit sacks by midseason.  
  • Derrick Brown- Him and the other DT's were collapsing the pocket and stuffing the run during team drills.  Brown would have had a sack-will be a disappointment if him and Burns are not both Pro-Bowlers.  Daquan Jones is a big man, too.  Definitely have some bulk in the middle.
  • Joe Charlton- Absolutely booming punts- hopefully we've found a long-term guy there.
  • Joey Slye- The ball sounds like a rocket coming off his foot.  If he can get the mental part down, he has leg to kick for a decade plus.  Both kickers looked good tonight.

It was exciting seeing the team live again for the first time in over a year-and-a-half.  There is some really good, young talent on this team. 

Robby, DJ, and CMC are elite offensive weapons.  Terrance Marshall, Dan Arnold, and Tommy Tremble have the potential to help out this offense over the top. Sam Darnold gives me hope this season can be different from the last few.  He had poise and command out there even when the line was breaking down, and even though he missed a couple of throws, he also made several that Bridgewater simply couldn't.  His arm talent is undeniable.

On defense, Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, Jeremy Chinn, and Jaycee Horn are all elite talents.  Yetur Gross-Matos, Hassan Reddick, Marquis Haynes, Jermaine Carter, and Donte Jackson are all poised for potential breakout years.  Phil Snow has the group playing with an edge.  There were only a couple of deep shots during team drills b/c the defense was all over the QB.  Top 10 should not be an unrealistic goal for this group.

To me, at least based on tonight, the success of the season will come down on how well the offensive line plays.  I don't think Sam Darnold will be the one holding the team back.  If the line protects him, I believe he will win with the weapons and coaching we have.  The defense looks solid and the best on paper we have had since 2017.  The talent we have now along with Phil Snow's coaching won't be holding anybody back either.

Hopefully come Monday when the pads come on and "real football practice" begins, Rhule can find some guys that can slow down what appears to be a ferocious pass rush.  Our season depends on it.

Awesome write up like others have said!! I was there last night too.. U were very nice on Grier!! From what I saw he was lost and getting a short dump pass off if lucky!! He looked lost out there!! Wasn’t impressed 

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