Monday, August 2, 2010
Checking in from the land of the Panthers
By Pat Yasinskas ESPN.com
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Apologies that I haven’t checked in from here sooner today. But I spent Monday morning watching the Carolina Panthers practice. After that I had meetings with coach John Fox and linebacker Jon Beason for some future things I’m working on.
I’m supposed to be meeting with general manager Marty Hurney a bit later this afternoon. But I wanted to check in with some quick observations from this morning and from the regular media interviews.
Panthers quarterback Matt Moore is taking a more active role in the offense.
Let’s start with quarterback Matt Moore. I thought he looked good out there. He always could throw the ball, but it was interesting to see him taking a really active role, talking to Fox and assistant coaches between plays. Moore is not just a young quarterback getting coached anymore. He’s a starter, taking a very active role in the relationship and offering his input.
Speaking of quarterbacks, I know rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen is a big name and could have a big future. He looked all right throwing the ball, but he’s working with the third team and I didn’t see anything that really stood out. The only time I really saw any flash around Clausen was when he took off on a scramble and a defensive linemen put a little hit on him. It was pretty amazing how quickly and sternly the coaching staff jumped in and reminded the defense that the quarterbacks aren’t supposed to be touched.
One reader asked yesterday how rookie defensive end Greg Hardy is coming along. I watched him some this morning and he’s very athletic. In fact, I’d say he’s the closest thing to Julius Peppers the Panthers have right now -- purely in terms of athletic ability among the defensive ends. I also asked Fox and Beason about what they saw in Hardy and the answers were very positive. I’ll share those with you in a future post.
The Panthers took defensive tackle Louis Leonard and guard Duke Robinson off the physically-unable-to-perform list Monday and they were on the practice field for the first time. It’s early, but both of those guys are very much in the mix to challenge for starting jobs.
I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen out of rookie receiver Armanti Edwards on the field so far and that goes back to May minicamp. The former college quarterback is explosive and makes some big plays. But, listening to Edwards talk after practice, he sounded like we’ve yet to see his best. He admitted he still is very much in an adjustment period. “I expected it to be rough and it’s been what I expected.’’
Speaking of wide receivers, the one guy that really has stood out so far is Trent Guy. He's an undrafted free agent and is working as a backup. But he keeps making plays and is very fast. He's got a shot at a roster spot. At worst, I think he could end up on a practice squad somewhere. Speed like that doesn't come along often.