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June 09, 2008

Heat good preparation for Spartanburg

Today brought another fairly uneventful--I mean that in a good way; no one got hurt--Panthers' offseason training activities workout session on the practice fields behind Bank of America Stadium. Well, not totally uneventful; those fields could have doubled as pizza ovens late this morning, as the players sweated, grunted and dripped their way through another hour-plus of work.

Which was fine; it "warmed up" the guys for training camp in Spartanburg come the end of July. One thing became pretty clear, though; don't expect the OTAs to continue beyond Thursday. In recent years, the team has always cancelled the scheduled fourth week of the sessions, and it's a pretty safe bet that will happen again.

First, everyone seems pretty pleased with how the sessions have gone so far. And second, coach John Fox, who meets with the media following the workouts every other day, was scheduled to speak with us today but switched it to Tuesday. Now, we know he always speaks following the final workout, and changing the brief on-field press conference to Tuesday puts him on schedule to wrap things up nicely following Thursday's workout.

Following that one, expect players, coaches and team personnel to scatter to homes and vacation sites across the country. Taking a nice little break before the heavy work (put on those pads, boys) begins in training camp.

--STAN OLSON

Posted by Observer Sports on June 9, 2008 at 01:03 PM | Permalink

Comments

Considering Fox will likely cancel part of training camp again this year, I dont worry about the players too much

Posted by: matt | Jun 9, 2008 1:43:53 PM

Fox only cancelled part of training camp one time!!! Last year he ended it 2 days early and considering it was the hottest camp a panther team had to endure he probably should have ended it a little earlier. The last thing we need is the players coming in to the season flat cause their physically and mentally exhausted by practicing 2 a days in 115 degree heat index.

Posted by: wowo | Jun 9, 2008 3:28:18 PM

are you absolutely sure fox only ended training camp early once??

Posted by: matt | Jun 9, 2008 3:44:10 PM

Anytime he's ended it even a day early...that means he ended camp early - which has been almost every season.

Posted by: JanitorDan | Jun 9, 2008 5:34:07 PM

Guys, he always ends OTAs early, so that's expected. And ending camp itself early has happened a couple of times while I've been covering it; sort of a reward if things go well in the coaches' eyes...

Posted by: stan olson | Jun 9, 2008 6:22:32 PM

Yes, Fox does end OTAs early every season and usually ends camp a couple of days early, last season they even went to the movies on a training day. This would be fine if they came out every season looking refreshed and ready to go, but usually they don't. They usually look flat, slow, and lethargic, especially on defense.

Posted by: Reno | Jun 9, 2008 6:58:15 PM

Yes, Fox does end OTAs early every season and usually ends camp a couple of days early, last season they even went to the movies on a training day. This would be fine if they came out every season looking refreshed and ready to go, but usually they don't. They usually look flat, slow, and lethargic, especially on defense.

Posted by: Reno | Jun 9, 2008 7:07:39 PM

I'm not saying its a good or bad thing, but it just seems to me that he's ended training camp in spartanburg early at least 3 times

Posted by: matt | Jun 9, 2008 7:28:17 PM

From what I've read or heard, Fox only cancels the additional sessions if the team has put in sufficient work and absorbed what they've been coaching them up to do. It's an incentive basically to ensure they work hard in all of the other sessions leading up to the last few that are "optional" in the coaches' eyes. This is an important strategy, because it's far better to have fewer high-quality practice sessions because the guys are busting their butts...than it is to have more lower-quality practice sessions because everyone's plodding along and not focusing. You give them an incentive like cutting the "torture" of training camp short, and believe me they'll work harder for you.

In the end though, you've got to trust the coaching staff's judgement about the quality of the sessions the guys have put in...and their "readiness" level for the regular season. That's what they all get paid to do. And if the team really stinks it up in consecutive years (and by that, I don't mean barely missing the playoffs, but rather *really* bad seasons), then it's obvious a coaching change becomes necessary because they probably weren't preparing the team very well.

Ultimately, I do agree however that the Panthers have frequently come out seemingly flat the past couple of seasons. Was that an indication that they didn't prepare adequately in camp? Or was it more of an indication of the eroding talent level of some key veterans mixed with a healthy dose of too many changes (e.g., the chemistry of the offensive line in recent years, the new blocking schemes as a result of a new offensive coordinator, and the loss of veteran leadership due to free-agent departures)?

Me? I believe all those elements were at play. What happened in terms of the team's "flatness" on opening day wasn't just a result of ending training camp (or OTAs) a day or two early. There's a lot more at play in what translates onto the field than most people realize.

Just my two-cents,
--Neil

Posted by: NSpicer | Jun 9, 2008 9:09:26 PM

Sure its an incentive, and I see the logic behind his explanation for doing so, but its hard to prove that it does have any sort of positive effect on the outcome of the season. But I would think that with so many new players coming in and older players switching positions, the coach would want to use up every bit of the training camp

Posted by: matt | Jun 9, 2008 9:26:14 PM

I think that working towards the incentive is a good idea, but we are sort of behind the 8 ball as far as repetitions go particularly for our O-Line. I think that the team could use those days to its advantage with Jake coming off of the injury, Stewart still has not caught up with the team yet, Godfrey at FS (which he hasn't played since his early years of college) and again the Jumbalaya we call our Offensive Line.

We had that preseason win streak going for a while (I believe it ended last year?.?), and I know that those wins do not count, but I think that is what gave us the confidence going into the season. We were always sort of on a role with alittle momentum. That is what I believe is important, not the fact that they cancel the last couple of days. If we need them, which I think we do, then we should use them. This year is not like the last 2. Fox needs to reinforce that to the players and utilize those last days to our advantage. This is going to be a special year and what better way to move forward, than to make sure 100% that everyone is on the same page before the season starts?

Posted by: hackney | Jun 9, 2008 11:50:33 PM

there are so many new players in new positions on this team that they need as many reps as possible.i think fox has gotten too soft, as evidenced by the teams sluggish attitude the last few years. every time i hear fox referred to as a players coach i cringe.this team doesnt deserve a break. fox supposedly eased up on them last training camp and they looked more
lackadaisical than ever. at least they could keep the young players and give them some reps instead of just packing it in.

Posted by: ray | Jun 10, 2008 11:00:08 AM

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