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July 30, 2007

Starting safeties: Salley, Cooper?

   SPARTANBURG – On Monday morning, the Panthers lined up with Nate Salley and Deke Cooper as their first-team safeties as veteran Mike Minter strolled the sidelines.

   It was only one practice, but don’t completely rule out the possibility of the Panthers opening the season with Salley and Cooper as their starters. As much as fans might not want to hear it, the popular Minter could end up spending his final NFL season as a backup.

   Even though the Panthers didn’t address the safety position in free agency or early in the draft, Minter, who took a cut in pay to backup money, could end up being a reserve. His age started to show last season. Although Salley and Cooper aren’t household names and don’t have much experience, they do have young legs.

   Maybe periodic rest sessions will keep Minter fresh enough to start. Or maybe the time Minter spends on the sidelines will show the Panthers the upside of having young legs at safety.

Posted by Observer Sports on July 30, 2007 at 05:15 PM | Permalink


I don't think there's any chance this happens...Minter has too much pride to have restructured the way he did and only serve as a backup and our coaching staff is too loyal to make him go through it. For better or (likely) worse, Minter will be the starter come Week 1.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jul 30, 2007 5:19:09 PM

We all appreciate what Mike Minter has done for the Panthers. If he's not starting he will receive a good amount of playing time. Look for him to lead the team in special teams tackles!

Posted by: Jake | Jul 30, 2007 5:33:04 PM

I think that he will be the starter but as we all figured out he has alot of miles on him and why put any useless miles on him. He knows the game so every other day off isnt a bad idea. And We all appreciate the work and heart he has put into our team for 10 years leading the team in all time tackles.

Posted by: Justin | Jul 30, 2007 6:17:49 PM

Class Act! He has proven his worth! His body may not be able to responsd as a 23 yr old athlete but those young guys need to listen to someone who can help put them in the position to make themsleves better and more importantly make plays! Minter has nothing else to prove! He's left it on the field time and time again!

Posted by: Sam | Jul 30, 2007 6:42:28 PM

Does this really surprise anyone? Mike is a dinosaur. And newsflash Pat, Minter started showing his age about 4 seasons ago. He will be a prime candidate for that show Dancing With The Stars after he hangs it up next season. The way he dances around oncoming RB's and WR's without tackling them is amazing.

Posted by: Mr. Richardson | Jul 30, 2007 6:59:19 PM

I have just read the AP report on Jon Benson Holdout, What are the PANTHERS DOING. Read this, The panthers are being real stupid. GET THE GUY in CAMP.

Posted by: Panther Fan | Jul 30, 2007 7:35:53 PM

mike can still hit! but has been beat on passsing plays way to much/does it matter who starts?our front seven & 3 great corners,hell let me shine back there

Posted by: james | Jul 30, 2007 8:42:27 PM

Just read that article about Beason, on nfl.com. So Hurney put an offer on the table that Beason was ready to sign, then took it back? And he says "there are two sides to this story", but refuses to tell his side? What an idiot. Marty Hurney is such an incompetent piece of sh it of a GM. At least we know the truth now, this story and "holdout" if you want to call it that make much more sense.
As a side note, yet another relevant Panthers story that the Observer misses, that you have to find on another site. The Observer and Marty Hurney are embarassing.

Posted by: Teddy | Jul 30, 2007 9:58:54 PM

Good im tired out watching M.Minter getting burned every year....

Posted by: Damon | Jul 30, 2007 10:19:58 PM

Fowler do you seriously not know how to spell safeties? You guys aren't so smart are you.

Posted by: n.f | Jul 30, 2007 10:32:54 PM

salley and cooper? this is rediculous. I cant believe we didnt take a safety in free agency or the draft. this is a team that has struggled with tight ends the last few seasons and this year is going to be one of the worst with the crop of safeties we have this year. Im a big fan Fox and Hurney but you guys messed up big time on this one.

Posted by: rafi | Jul 31, 2007 2:32:12 AM

Hey Teddy, that "incompetent" GM is the reason we have so much talent on the field. I'm sure a lot of teams in the league would trade GMs with us in a minute. And it's nice to see a GM who has the grace not to negotiate through the media. Too bad that the first-time agent Beason chose doesn't have the same good sense. Give me the 2007 edition of the Panthers with or without Beason. We're going to win a lot of games anyway.

Minter will start the season strong and on the field. I don't expect his age to show until later in the year, at which point he'll probably start and be spelled early and more often. He's still a strong leader on the team and we need leaders on the field.

Posted by: Ben | Jul 31, 2007 9:01:25 AM

I would like to see some of you guys do the job that Pat and Scott do. If your work was on display for all of the world to see, I'm sure it would be embarrassing for you.

Posted by: bret | Jul 31, 2007 12:59:31 PM

Cooper is headed to Hawaii!

Posted by: jimmy | Jul 31, 2007 1:34:37 PM

Why didn't we take a safety in the draft? Salley and Cooper? Oh sh*#! A glaring need and we may be worse than last year.

Posted by: Ron | Jul 31, 2007 11:21:51 PM

I'm still scratching my head as to why Donovan Darius is in a Raiders uniform instead of a Panther one. I know Safety isn't a priority position for the defense we run but it still seemed like a no-brainer decision. It must have boiled down to money but I never saw a specific reason listed.

Posted by: Brant | Aug 1, 2007 3:45:44 AM

Darius has the same miles onhim as Minter, but he's played less the last two years due to serious injuries. He wanted all-pro money whenhe hasn't even played 10 whole games in almost three years. Minter, Cooper and Salley can have a rotation that allows the more experienced Minter to be fresher for our playoff push in December. I'm confident that Cooper and Salley will be okay as our offense is on the field longer and our D-line and corners make it harder for teams to go deep with improved man-to-man coverage and more QB pressure. The safeties will be fine. Richard Marshall is just as good as the starting CBs, so our secondary will be fine in man-to-man in against 3-wr sets. But if the oppositin goes to three wr sets, they give up a blocking back or a TE, and that means more sacks. It's a no win for Panthers opponents this year. The Lombardi trophy is waiting for us right now.

Posted by: charlsong1 | Aug 1, 2007 6:57:22 AM

I think we can get a safety when other people start trimming there roster down so i'm not worried Superbowl champs.

Posted by: berry | Aug 1, 2007 7:46:25 PM

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