June 19, 2013
Panthers sign WR Dale Moss, waive/injure R.J. Webb
The Panthers waive/injured wide receiver R.J. Webb and signed WR Dale Moss in his place, according to the league's official transaction page.
Moss, a 6-foot-3, 213-pound receiver, went undrafted out of South Dakota State in 2012. He bounced around practice squads last year with Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Chicago before getting released by the Bears this month.
Moss played basketball at South Dakota State as well as football. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 and had a 41 1/2-foot vertical at his pro day in 2012. He'll likely compete this summer in Spartanburg for a spot on Carolina's practice squad.
Last Tuesday during minicamp, Webb planted awkwardly and told the Observer he likely tore an ACL and chipped a bone in his right knee.
Webb was signed by the team following the rookie tryout camp. A Furman graduate, Webb caught 85 balls for 1,082 yards for the Paladins.
Greg Olsen contributing $289,000 to Levine Children's Hospital fund
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is giving from his heart.
Olsen, whose son, T.J., was born with a heart defect, will donate more than $289,000 to Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Children's Hospital through his foundation that will help provide home care support to pediatric heart patients once they're discharged.
The contribution will be presented Friday at 2 p.m. at the hospital as part of Olsen's HEARTest Yard Fund. According to a press release, the fund will "extend the family-centered care concept beyond the hospital walls so the transition from there to the home will be easier for other families with children suffering with congenital heart defects."
Here's our story from October on Olsen and T.J., who in late May underwent the second of three surgeries.
Canadian DT Gaydosh hopes to crack Panthers final roster
The Panthers were the only NFL team that called the Canadian Football League's No. 1 overall pick, and he hopes he can stick with Carolina through training camp.
In an article on Panthers.com, defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh said while he was flattered to be the top pick in Canada's top football league, his dream is to play in the NFL.
"It was a great honor and something that will always be dear to me, but I'd like to move on from that and move up and play the highest level of football that I can," he said.
Along with the weather, the biggest adjustment for Gaydosh has been getting closer to the ball on the line. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said during rookie tryout camp that he and the coaches had to push Gaydosh closer to the ball when lining up due to Canada's different rules.
"I'm still getting used to the ‘no-yard' coming from Canadian rules," Gaydosh told Panthers.com. "We've got a one-yard neutral zone area in Canada, so you have a little more time to read and react. Here, it's just bang, right in your face as soon as the ball is snapped."
Making the final cut come late August will be a task for Gaydosh considering the Panthers' situation with interior defensive linemen. Dwan Edwards and first-round pick Star Lotulelei enter training camp as the starting DTs while veteran Colin Cole and second-round pick Kawann Short are their immediate backups.
Siona Fua, a 2011 third-round pick, and Frank Kearse figure to be on the third string while starting defensive end Greg Hardy has played tackle in obvious pass situations the past year.
There's such a logjam at defensive tackle that the team flipped Nate Chandler to the other side of the line so he'd have a better shot of staying on with Carolina.
June 18, 2013
Five surprises from Panthers minicamp
It was three days in shorts and helmets.
So Panthers first-year general manager Dave Gettleman, while pleased with what he saw during the mandatory minicamp last week, cautioned not to put too much stock in it.
The real test will come in Spartanburg in six weeks when the pads come on and the intensity rises along with the heat and humidity.
But there were a number of pleasant surprises during the Panthers' minicamp. Here are five:
When the Panthers drafted Joe Adams in 2012, Edwards would be gone. When they signed Ted Ginn Jr. this past offseason, surely that would be the last of Edwards in Charlotte. Or so the thinking went.
Entering Year 4 of the Armanti Experiment, Edwards is beginning to look like an NFL receiver. He's running fluid routes and catching the ball in traffic.
It likely won't be enough to make him the No. 3 wideout. But it should keep him on the roster for another year.
2) Josh Norman – Panthers coach Ron Rivera says both cornerback spots are wide open, but Josh Thomas and Norman spent a lot of time with the first team last week. Norman was benched at the end of his rookie season because of his inconsistent play and freelancing in coverage.
Secondary coach Steve Wilks said Norman came back for his second season more disciplined and focused. He has the talent and confidence to be successful if he improves his technique, particularly in zone coverage.
3) Star Lotulelei – The All-American nose tackle from Utah showed up in good shape and was everything the Panthers thought they were getting when they drafted him 14th overall. Maybe a little more.
On draft night, the Panthers said Lotulelei needed to improve as a pass rusher. And with second-round pick Kawann Short more accomplished in that area, it was thought Lotulelei might come out in certain passing situations.
But he was on the field a lot during minicamp.
Rivera says Lotulelei already has “come a long way” as far as using his hands to shed blockers.
4) Robert Lester – A school-record nine players from Alabama were drafted in April. Lester wasn't one of them.
But the former Crimson Tide safety, who had 14 interceptions and was part of two national title teams in Tuscaloosa, had a solid spring and is in the mix for the strong safety spot opposite Charles Godfrey.
Lester has good size (6-1, 215 pounds) and instincts, and that championship pedigree.
5) Ben Hartsock – The veteran tight end showed he could catch the ball. Who knew?
Hartsock spent most of his first nine seasons as a glorified third tackle, clearing space for running backs and protecting quarterbacks and rarely getting any balls thrown his way.
But Cam Newton targeted Hartsock on a number of underneath routes at minicamp, and Hartsock caught everything.
June 14, 2013
Panthers set Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium for Aug. 3
After one week in Spartanburg this summer, the Panthers will return home to Bank of America Stadium for Fan Fest 2013 on Saturday, Aug. 3, the team announced on its Twitter account Friday.
Fan Fest will have games for kids as well as entertainment opportunities around the stadium. Gates will open at 2 p.m. The team will also host a scrimmage on the field.
Last year's Fan Fest drew an announced crowd of 22,070, the largest for the event since 1996.
After a scrimmage in which the score is unlikely to be kept, players will sign autographs for fans.
The Panthers will return to Spartanburg the following Monday for a few days before making their way back to Charlotte to play their first preseason game against the Chicago Bears on Friday, Aug. 9.
June 13, 2013
Video: Carolina Panthers wrap up minicamp
The Charlotte Observer's Joe Person reports from Bank of America Stadium after the Carolina Panthers wrapped up their three-day minicamp on Friday. Greg Olsen, Charles Godfrey and head coach Ron Rivera spoke to the media.
Video: Panthers president Danny Morrison: Bank of America Stadium renovation going well
Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison chats with The Charlotte Observer's Joe Person about the future of Bank of America Stadium and the plans to make the facility more fan-friendly.
Rivera: Armanti Edwards most improved WR during workouts
In three years, Armanti Edwards has caught five passes for 121 yards and zero touchdowns.
Naturally, there's room for growth.
As the Panthers wrapped up their final session of mandatory minicamp Thursday afternoon, coach Ron Rivera said the former Appalachian State quarterback and second-round draft pick has been most-improved among the wide receivers.
"Probably the guy who’s really improved the most during these OTAs and minicamp has been Armanti," Rivera said. "He made a couple really nice plays, I know you guys saw today he made a couple big catches. His development has been really key for us as well."
Edwards has made at least one "really nice play" during each of the three days at minicamp. On Thursday, he skied for a Cam Newton ball across the middle of the field and made the grab in traffic.
Asked if the Panthers' wide receiving corps has been flying under the radar, Rivera said he hopes that would happen, but that it's unlikely.
"It’d be good, but I don’t think it’s going to fly under the radar when you have Steve Smith," Rivera said. "Everybody’s going to respect his abilities, and the development of Brandon LaFell from last season, I think he’s going to be big for us as well. And then the addition of Ted (Ginn Jr.) and Domenik (Hixon), I think we can have a real good core. We’re excited about it."
Rivera reiterated Thursday that he'll learn more about the team come late July when the Panthers, in full pads, report to Spartanburg for training camp.
The Panthers are likely to keep six receivers on the final 53-man roster, and for the past two preseasons there have been breath-holding moments on whether Edwards would make the cut in late August.
If the aforementioned Smith, LaFell, Ginn and Hixon are the top four receivers, that leaves two, possibly three, open receiving spots for Edwards, Kealoha Pilares, Joe Adams and David Gettis. All four of those players spent time on the active roster last season.
Greg Hardy releases names of Panthers' "MonStrz Inc." defensive line
It's too late to change the nameplate on the back of their jerseys for the 2013 season, but Greg Hardy decided to rename Panthers defensive linemen anyway.
Hardy, the team's outspoken defensive end, dubbed Carolina's defensive line "MonStrz Inc.," which is taking from a Disney Pixar animated film "Monsters, Inc."
On Wednesday evening, he released (via his Twitter account, @ItsGHardy) the monikers of eight defensive linemen that (somewhat) fit the MonStrz Inc. tag.
Hardy reiterated his long-used nickname of the Kraken, a mythical sea creature. Along the starting defensive line, he tagged DE Charles Johnson as the Loch Ness, DT Dwan Edwards as the Phoenix and rookie DT Star Lotulelei as the Hydra.
Rookie DT Kawann Short will be known as the Minotaur, second-year DE Frank Alexander is Leviathan, DT Frank Kearse is Big Foot, DE Mario Addison is the Gargoyle and DT Colin Cole is Big Predator.
It's unclear whether these names were chosen by the respective players or if Hardy just gave them their names. We'll let him finish this blog.
— GQ (@ItsGHardy) June 13, 2013
June 12, 2013
Beason back for minicamp
Panthers linebacker Jon Beason was a spectator for most of the three weeks of organized team activities, getting his work in by running wind sprints after practice.
So it was assumed Beason, coming off knee and shoulder surgeries, wouldn't see much action until training camp in July.
But Beason was back running drills with the first-team defense Wednesday during the second day of the team's three-day minicamp. If he was less than full speed, Panthers coach Ron Rivera didn't notice.
“They passed him on the physical, so I assume he's 100 percent. He moved around like it. He made some plays,” Rivera said. “You really see that energy coming back. You see that quickness. I really like the quickness and speed of our front seven. I think our front seven is a pretty formidable group.”
Beason worked at strongside linebacker next to Luke Kuechly, who took Beason's spot in the middle after Beason went down after Week 4 last season. Kuechly was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year after leading the league in tackles.
Beason has played in just five games the past two seasons. He blew out his Achilles early in the 2011 season, and underwent three surgeries in a 17-month span.
But Rivera said he was not hesitant about getting Beason back on the field.
“Jon works so hard at everything. It really didn't surprise me that he'd be ready to go,” Rivera said. “And I'm glad to see him out there. I think he's going to help us, just his presence and who he is as a football player.”