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June 12, 2008

Fox: I'm pleased so far

680panthers_05highlight_largeprod_a The Panthers wrapped up their three weeks of offseason training activities workouts this morning, and coach John Fox pronounced himself pleased with what he had seen. The fourth week was called off, but it always is, and now players and officials will scatter to visit family and friends, take vacations and relax while they await the opening of training camp in Spartanburg July 25.

Fox pronounced himself pleased with the workouts, and our David Scott will have more on what was accomplished in Friday's Observer.

On the makeover of the offensive line, one of the biggest storylines of this season, Fox said after the workout, "I think we've made a conscious effort to get bigger up there, and I don't think we'll get a true idea of that until we get into pads and evaluate guys moving forward. Again, there's a lot of new faces there, but they've been very productive as far as how they've moved along in our system."

Fox also mentioned that RB Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers' top draft pick, is out of the boot he's had to wear for a lingering toe injury and is making good progress in his recovery. Stewart missed the OTAs because his school is on the quarter system and wasn't finished in time, but he could not have practiced anyway with the injury. He's expected to be ready to go for training camp.

A sprint to the finish

The final day of OTAs is always fun (at least for those of us who don't have to participate}, because the coaches make the players do a series of sprints back and forth across the turf practice field. They run from side to side and back twice, get a short break and do it again. After another break, they do it a third time. The linemen ran first, and Jordan Gross -- just about the only member of the O-line who hasn't bulked up from last year, started out blowing everyone away.

By the third set, though, DE Charles Johnson took control. The whole time, it appeared that DE Julius Peppers, with his long easy strides, could have stepped it up and won the thing, but he seemed content to stay in the middle of the pack.

In the other groups, the wide receivers, running backs, punters and kickers were dominated early by P Jason Baker and later by WR Steve Smith, who appears to be in remarkable shape.

The linebackers and defensive backs also ran together, and were noticeable primarily for the amount of yakking LB Tim Shaw did WHILE he was running.

Sleeper to watch

Now we wait for July 25 and, if possible, go to the beach. This is going to be an interesting team to watch. Want a sleeper to tell your friends about? Try free agent signee Toniu Fonoti. He appears to have boiled the much of the fat off of a body that has Pro Bowl ability when in shape, and could be the surprise of the O-line.

--Stan Olson

Posted by Observer Sports on June 12, 2008 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

Comments

"It appeared that DE Julius Peppers, with his long easy strides, could have stepped it up and won the thing, but he seemed content to stay in the middle of the pack."
...Story of his career.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jun 12, 2008 12:52:28 PM

Didn't I read somewhere that Tim Shaw was being switched to FB?

Posted by: jbw | Jun 12, 2008 12:58:52 PM

No. You might have read that he played tailback at Penn State his freshman year.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jun 12, 2008 1:07:11 PM

Few things:

First, I pronounce that Stan is pleased with the phrase "pronounced himself pleased."

Second, all the talk this offseason has been about the bulked up offensive line. But, there's never a mention about our 295lb starting center. For all of the added weight, a small center doesn't seem to fit.

Third, and I hate to do it, but I have to agree with Procton about Peppers. He does seem to be content staying with the pack despite his enormous ability. That seems to be why last years "pronouncement" (for Stan) that he has to step up and be a leader didn't sit well all year.

Posted by: Phillip | Jun 12, 2008 1:11:15 PM

Damn, Procton...do you ever have anything positive to say, or is it always just another chance to try and show people how smart you think you are.

You dominate every single Panthers blog, regardless of the topic, and never ever have anything nice to say.

You're a 20-something year old punk that has no life (based on your mutliple social networking loser site profiles), and somehow you think that posting blogs makes your a fraking journalist or something. It doesn't.

Why don't you save some of your hot air, asshole! I'm sure your inflatable date is going to need it.

Posted by: Procton Blows | Jun 12, 2008 1:26:09 PM

Is I the only one reacting to the fact the our punter outruns the WRs??

Tring to make something posetiv out of it, maybe we should start to let him fake the punt and run for or if we can't convert 3rd and short this year :-)

Posted by: Thorrez | Jun 12, 2008 1:33:51 PM

What is Julius Peppers in the middle of the pack of? Aside from this little sprint exercise?

Posted by: matt | Jun 12, 2008 1:36:29 PM

Effort? Consistency? Drive? Desire? Actually, middle of the pack would be generous in those categories.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jun 12, 2008 1:44:00 PM

Is that you Fiz?

Posted by: EdTeach | Jun 12, 2008 1:44:34 PM

BASED ON LAST YEAR, I'd say Peppers showed less than average effort, drive, desire, but he WAS consistant, just not in a good way

Posted by: matt | Jun 12, 2008 1:49:52 PM

Procton is a dork. Maybe schfincter is his real name. What a wuss. Proc the crock.

Posted by: Hell Boy | Jun 12, 2008 1:57:02 PM

Procton is right on the money, I thought the same thing when I read it.

Posted by: Sam Ol | Jun 12, 2008 2:08:43 PM

Hey Procton-
Shaw IS rumored to be moving back to tailback, by the way. This was reported by Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald. Stop trying to demonstrate your "expertise" when you clearly don't have the knowledge to even fake it.

Posted by: Walrus84 | Jun 12, 2008 2:16:31 PM

Come on guys...do we really want to see who can get injured by being ahead of the pack in OTA's? I'd rather see you busting your butt during the season, ahead of the other NFL teams. If you have ever played any athletics, hasn't there been a workout where you didn't 'let' yourself be first because you didn't want to burn out? I've got to believe that that is what some of the guys are thinking. As for Peppers, my dad a Carolina grad, mentioned many times last season that he did this kind of thing when he played at UNC. About 50% of his playing time was 'middle of the pack'. I don't know what to say about his OTA performance other than he could be reserving the energy for TC or the season. If not, then I certainly hope that mgmt won't be afraid to move him down on the depth chart and give someone else a shot.

Posted by: WebAppArchitect | Jun 12, 2008 2:47:37 PM

Peppers is such a wast, if we have a market for him, trade him.

Posted by: Roger | Jun 12, 2008 2:55:40 PM

Who give a rip about who runs the fastest in some gasers at the OTA's. All of those guys breeze through the things anyway. If Pepp isn't in shape, it will be on him and he's in a contract year.

Posted by: JT | Jun 12, 2008 4:00:04 PM

Hey if Peppers is reading this, I still beleive in you. Carolina is going to the super bowl this year. I feel that way every year, regardless. Give your team some support and quit bitching, were not the Eagles man. We need to hit harder this year like we did that year we went to the SB. Peppers don't mean crap if the players around him are not giving it there all too. Go Panthers, and screw you guys talking crap on your team.

Posted by: Art Grissom | Jun 12, 2008 4:08:48 PM

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the players should be running so hard that they injur themselves. But, for a guy who is supposed to be the leader of the defense, who has so much potential, and will be the highest paid DE in the league (most likely), it would be nice to see him at least pretend to show a little more fire or leadership by example. The earlier comments were more of a comment on how his play on the field is perceived.

Posted by: Phillip | Jun 12, 2008 4:17:26 PM

P.S. Someone please tell me whether Kalil has put on weight since that's seems to be the big thing with the o-line this year.

Posted by: Phillip | Jun 12, 2008 4:18:49 PM

I Have to say that i have listen to some of you guys over and over about peppers, kris jenkins and other players. I think you need to focus on Mr. Jake OUR QB. if jake is ready the team will be much better, him and steve will be awesome and mushin and dj hackett will take major pressure off steve and steweart the RB will keep every corner honest. I think the panthers will go 10-6 depending on jake's arm. I think we are much better. i hear that surgery makes your arm stronger. I think panthers will win the weak nfc south.BIG TEE THOUGHT'S AND I AM JUST GETTING STARTED.

Posted by: BIG TEE'S THOUGHTS | Jun 12, 2008 4:26:10 PM

Of course Jakes health directly impacts the success of our team, him being healthy, in my mind, is much more important than Peps getting 10 sacks. But Peppers is such a big issue because of how good he can be and considering this is his contract year, his performance will have a huge impact on the succes and financial situation of the tam for years to come.

Posted by: matt | Jun 12, 2008 4:29:59 PM

BIG TEE THOUGHT'S
I THINK CHRIS HARRIS WILL BE THE DEFENSIVE LEADER ON THIS TEAM AFTER THIS SEASON. JULUIS PEPPERS IS NOT A LEADER, A GOOD PLAYER(FOLLOWER) BUT NOT A LEADER, IT IS JUST NOT HIM. I THINK CHRIS "HARD HITTING" HARRIS WILL TAKE THAT ROLE. (WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK OF THE NICKNAME). HE HAS THE TENACITY, WAS TAUGHT WELL BY BRIAN URLACHER. HE IS HUMBLE BUT HAS THE HEART TO LEAD THE TEAM IN FUMBLES FORCE, RECOVERY, INTERCEPTION AND TACKLES.I also think RICHARD MARSHALL SHOULD START THIS YEAR AT CORNER.

Posted by: BIG TEE'S THOUGHTS | Jun 12, 2008 4:40:54 PM

Beason seems to be the best choice to be the leader, I'd take Marshall starting at corner, but it probably wont happen on a full time basis until 2009

Posted by: matt | Jun 12, 2008 4:46:56 PM

I agree with what you said about Harris. But going by last year Marshall is not ready to take over for Lucas yet. I think he needs another year at nickel. He gets beat deep way to much right now. Plus he plays the run great which is perfect for the role he plays.

Posted by: cboss | Jun 12, 2008 4:59:34 PM

BIG TEE THOUGHT'S
I THINK "LIGHTS OUT" BEASON WILL BE ONE OF THE LEADERS ALONG WITH CHRIS "HARD HITTING" HARRIS. I REALLY SEE THE NEW PANTHERS TAKING OVER THIS TEAM ON THE DEFENSE SIDE. MIKE RUCKER, KRIS JENKINS AND MIKE MINTER ARE ALL GOING NOW RESPECTIVELY. THE NEW BLOOD IS HERE AND IT DOSEN'T LOOK TO BAD.

Posted by: BIG TEE | Jun 12, 2008 5:03:12 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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