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June 11, 2008

Panthers wrapping up early

King The "four weeks" of Panthers' offseason training activities workouts wrap up Thursday -- after three weeks.

That's the way it always happens in the John Fox era; the coaches hold up the carrot of bagging that last week if things go well in the first three, and every year, things seem to go well enough for that to happen. So much so that the players always talk about that fourth week with a smile.

"We sort of plan on it anyway," fullback Brad Hoover said after today's workout, grinning. "If he was to change it, we'd be in trouble. Some trips would be canceled, and things like that. The real truth is that they (the coaches) want to get out of here too. It's not us, so much as it's them."

That prompted laughter all around.

A few minutes earlier, tight end Jeff King had said, "I assume if we tanked it and didn't come out and practice well, practice hard, that we would go into that fourth week. But (Fox) says if participation is good and we practice hard, that fourth week is at his discretion. Get out of here a week early, yeah, it's definitely an incentive."

Then King smiled as well.

"I think his car's running," he said of the boss.

With tomorrow wrapping things up until training camp, Fox will give his take on the workouts, which are performed without pads. Perhaps the two most important aspects were that while players were learning about each other and the team's schemes, quarterback Jake Delhomme's arm looked as good as ever and there were no significant injuries.

-- STAN OLSON

Posted by Observer staff on June 11, 2008 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

Comments

I see no reason to change their losing ways. They will have their hands on their knees in the fourth quarter, just like every year. Overpaid, out of shape, and hardly worked, I LOVE it !

Posted by: Same Ol | Jun 11, 2008 12:59:49 PM

Glad to here things went well. I have a question for the writers or anyone who was there to see the workouts, how did Toefield look at RB? I haven't heard much about him since summer school began. Considering who he played behind in J-ville, I think he may have the potential to erupt if given the chance. (I'm not saying that he will, but I think the possibility could exist) Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: jason wilmington | Jun 11, 2008 1:10:13 PM

Yeah, "hands on their knees" like when they've consistently made comeback after comeback with Delhomme healthy and under center. Good call, chief.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jun 11, 2008 1:23:53 PM

I spent over 20 years in the Army and had to acclimatize my body to many different locations throughout the world. At no time durring this process was I ever told take a break. 3 weeks is not enough time to get the body ready. The only way to properly acclimate the body is to start slow and increase the demands on the body while continuously consuming fluids,electrolytes and carbohydrates. These guys are making more money in a season than we will ever see in our lifetime. If the players and coaches are getting paid to be professionals then get your back-sides out onto the field. Practice does not amke you perfect. Perfect practice make you perfect. If "That's the way it always happens in the John Fox era", maybe we need to find someone else to dangle the proverbial carrot.

Posted by: Struggling Fan | Jun 11, 2008 1:35:00 PM

The question should be how many players do we have to cut before training camp?

Posted by: Brainiac | Jun 11, 2008 1:37:35 PM

Why not just utilize all the time that you can as opposed to cutting it short? Yeah its good to dangle the "carrot" as incentive for the players to work hard, but I think youve got bigger issues if you have to give NFL players incentive to practice and work hard.

Posted by: matt | Jun 11, 2008 1:48:37 PM

I don't particularly like this. I've played football and rugby so I fully know how important sufficient conditioning is, but this doesn't have to do with wearing the guys out or even that much with conditioning. I want the guys on the field as much as possible up to training camp. There are people in new places and they need to be acclimated to their new roles. These guys can "relax" during the month plus that they still have before they have to report to Spartanburg anyway.

Posted by: Al | Jun 11, 2008 1:50:58 PM

Struggling Fan,First I would like to say thank you for your services. 2nd There is a big difference in what you had to do compared to what these guys do. Football is a GAME not something that is life threatning. They are not starting games tommarow and everyone forgets that these guys do workout all year long. Not to mention training camp starts in 6 weeks and last for a month. I get very defensive when people say we need a new coach. THAT IS RIDICULOUS!!!!! Fox is the BEST coach this franchise has ever seen. Everyone wants B. Cower? Why, for what?? Bill Cower was in Pittsburgh for like 15 years. He won 1 super bowl at the end of his tenure there. How many 3-6 win seasons did he have? 3. It took him 14 years to win a super bowl in Pitt. Fox has never had a worse record than 7-9 his tenure here. Even with a queer with gloves and a 85 year old man playing quarterback in a season. Not to mention Panther fans We had only been to the playoffs 1 time in the history of the Panthers before he got here. Since his arrival we have been to a Super Bowl and 2 NFC Championships. Marty Hurney I would not oppose to see go but I hope we stick with Fox.

Posted by: wowo | Jun 11, 2008 1:53:13 PM

Jason, Toefield looked pretty good, but most of the guys look pretty good in OTA's, when they're "in their underwear" as Fox puts it. We'll really start to see who can play when they put the pads on in camp.
And I agree that these guys need a physical and mental break before camp. They've been conditioning for months, and camp in Spartanburg will be a bear....

Posted by: stan olson | Jun 11, 2008 2:22:51 PM

Braniac, the camp roster limit is 80, and the unsigned draft picks don't yet count against that number. That means we'll need to cut 9 guys for each draft pick as they get signed. We'll probably let go of UFAs faster this year than usual, since there's not a lot of talent in the pool.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jun 11, 2008 2:46:40 PM

In unrelated news, has anyone seen the deal that the Saints just gave Will Smith? 6 years, 70 million. Holy crap. That's for a player who has only posted 10 or more sack once (10.5) and has 33.5 sacks in 62 career games. That's a whole lot of money for a guy that averages about one sack every two games. At this rate, Julius's new contract will be in the 85-90 million range.

Posted by: Al | Jun 11, 2008 4:00:17 PM

I was wondering, who is Will Smith?. Does he go by the name HANCOCK? Seriously though, I wonder if the Panthers can afford to sign Peppers to a contract extension if he plays lights out this year like he has done before. Moose played well and was let go years ago, could the same happen with Peppers?

Posted by: CEREBRUM | Jun 11, 2008 5:21:05 PM

If I were Fox and I just had my worst season and possibly my job depended on this coming season I wouldn't be cutting short any practice time. There are new faces all over this team. One more week of practicing "in their underwear" (to use Fox's line) should not and will not tire or wear down professional football players. Extra film and playbook study sessions along with the walkthroughs will help both the new players and very young players Fox needs to produce at a high level to keep his job. Olson posted two quotes from two different players stating cutting the last week of practice was more about getting the coaches more free time than the players. If Fox has always done this, maybe he should take the hint and try something else. That doesn't sound like someone who is truely concerned with improving on last season and keeping their job. It sounds like someone who could care less and has a poor work ethic.....maybe just maybe thats why this team has underacheived so badly the last two years. Come on Fox lead by example. Show some extra effort and maybe your players will too.

Posted by: J Thomas | Jun 11, 2008 5:22:44 PM

If I were Fox and I just had my worst season and possibly my job depended on this coming season I wouldn't be cutting short any practice time. There are new faces all over this team. One more week of practicing "in their underwear" (to use Fox's line) should not and will not tire or wear down professional football players. Extra film and playbook study sessions along with the walkthroughs will help both the new players and very young players Fox needs to produce at a high level to keep his job. Olson posted two quotes from two different players stating cutting the last week of practice was more about getting the coaches more free time than the players. If Fox has always done this, maybe he should take the hint and try something else. That doesn't sound like someone who is truely concerned with improving on last season and keeping their job. It sounds like someone who could care less and has a poor work ethic.....maybe just maybe thats why this team has underacheived so badly the last two years. Come on Fox lead by example. Show some extra effort and maybe your players will too.

Posted by: J Thomas | Jun 11, 2008 5:23:17 PM

That's it Fox. Let these guys relax. Just make sure nobody gets seriously hurt before the 2009 season...

Posted by: Bill Cowher | Jun 11, 2008 5:33:25 PM


spring workouts aren't meant to be grueling like training camp in Spartanburg. Spring workouts are about acclimating players and coaches with one another and reinforcing and setting expectations. Coaches use this time mainly to get the players together for a meeting that should only take a few weeks to accomplish. John Fox is a geneius.

Posted by: joe Hill | Jun 11, 2008 8:22:51 PM

Joe, if the point of spring workouts is what you say it is, dont you think that with so many new faces and players at different positions it would be wise to use up the entire time.

Posted by: matt | Jun 11, 2008 8:30:48 PM

It sure would be nice to see a little less griping. UNREAL. We are talking about spring practice. I can't stand all the negative crap posted all year round. Here we have a team where at least everyone has showed up and are working. Not sitting out over contract disputes and cause someone wants to be traded. That shows there is definetely a level of respect between the players, coaches and front office. It is June people get over it. ALL PLAYERS AND COACHES GO ON A NICE VACATION get refreshed and be ready to turn it up in late July.

Posted by: wowo | Jun 11, 2008 11:41:54 PM

So the truth comes out. OTA's and camp get cut short every year because John Fox is a lazy bastard. Straight from the players mouths'. Got it.

He's probably only still here to collect a paycheck until his house on Quail Hollow is complete. I'll expect him to retire after another 7-9 season this year.

Posted by: Lars | Jun 12, 2008 6:59:56 AM

Spring workouts is no big deal. The problem is, coach Fox has this same approach when it comes to TRAINING CAMP and practices. This is why Peppers isn't motivated, the defense & special teams have been getting worse, they run only a handful of offensive plays, they don't sack or tackle because they are not well-conditioned and practiced..

Posted by: brent704 | Jun 12, 2008 7:50:50 AM

Just to comment on The Will smith contract sure it is big but I cant believe you guys don't know him or who he is..he is VERY GOOD! and Consistant...not only is he a consistant pass rusher. (even though not super! great at it) avg around 7 sacks a year or so...He had 66 Tackles! last yr and several for a lost. He isn't a pre madona and he's not going to QUIT!! on the team when he feels like it like a certain DE that plays for the panthers! we all know...

But ppl are right this does mean that peppers...contract will be in the 90 to 100 million dollar range...HOWEVER! if he plays this year like he did last year...I woudn't resign him at all!! because what would be the point??

Posted by: Cheven | Jun 12, 2008 8:17:45 AM

That's it, let up, don't keep after it. Just do enough to get by. Just like in games.

No wonder we continue to underperform...

Posted by: David | Jun 12, 2008 8:31:34 AM

I think a lot of you guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill. This is arm-chair coaching, at its worse. Let Fox and the coaching staff do what they're paid to do...i.e., make the coaching decisions. If he's comfortable with what the team's achieved in gelling together and putting forth good effort in the OTAs, then I'm okay with cutting it short.

I agree with the earlier poster who singled out John Fox as the best coach Carolina has ever had. He's consistently kept this team in the hunt despite several setbacks that were beyond his control (e.g., injuries, etc.)...which I believe contributed more to the 7-9 seasons than his decision to cut the OTAs or training camp a week short.

I understand the frustration. I'm a fan, too. But let him do his job. Don't try and do it for him by second-guessing every little thing. He's the professional coach. I trust him to know what he's doing. I believe his track record since being with Carolina is among the best winning percentages of all coaches during that same time period. And his playoff record is off-the-charts good compared to anyone.

So dial down the hyperventilating a bit. Wait and see what happens. If the team gets off to another slow start and suffers through another mediocre season, then I'm sure Richardson will re-evaluate Fox and Hurney as the right leadership for the team. But, for now, he's given them his confidence. And I think the fans should put theirs in Fox's decision-making as well.

Just my two-cents,
--Neil

Posted by: NSpicer | Jun 12, 2008 8:57:22 AM

I would be interested to find out how many other teams in the league constantly cut theirs short as well. I would venture a guess that most, if not all, teams cut their OTAs by at least a few days.

Stan, got any info on this?

Posted by: Mason | Jun 12, 2008 9:06:09 AM

I'm not going to research this, but I know that I've heard of other teams cutting it short, so in no way is Fox the only one doing this

Posted by: matt | Jun 12, 2008 9:18:23 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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