Early observations on the Carolina Panthers


SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Kind of a scary stretch for the Carolina Panthers in the middle of Sunday afternoon’s practice.

Within the course of about two minutes, defensive lineman Nick Hayden and running back Mike Goodson went down with injuries that, at first, looked pretty serious.

Hayden went down first and trainers still were working on him when Goodson went down. Goodson’s injury was to his ankle and he was quickly carted to the locker room for X-rays.

Coach John Fox had a bit of good news after practice. He said Goodson’s ankle was not broken, but he didn’t know any details beyond that. If Goodson’s going to miss much time, and that looks like a possibility, the Panthers might have to add a running back or two just to get through camp and the preseason because Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton haven’t been practicing because of injuries.

Hayden’s injury did sound as if it was as serious as it first looked when he was crumpled on the grass. He eventually got up and was moving around. Fox said the injury was to Hayden’s side, but not his ribs. Hayden was wearing an ice pack that appeared to be lodged between his hip and ribs.

Some other observations from Carolina’s practice:

  • First off, it wasn’t an especially tough practice because the Panthers were coming off a Saturday night session. There wasn’t a great deal of hitting going on, so you’ll have to wait for me to give any realistic observations on linemen after I see them in practice Monday and Tuesday.

  • With Steve Smith sidelined for the moment, it looked like Kenneth Moore and Dwayne Jarrett were getting most of the work as the first-team receivers. The early word I’m hearing from people who’ve observed all the practices is that Moore has performed well. They’re not saying the same thing about Jarrett, who may be down to his last opportunity.

  • Speaking of receivers -- and again this was a tough practice to judge much -- I did see rookie Armanti Edwards make one very nice catch.

  • I remember chuckling at one point during the draft because our television side was running “key additions’’ for each team. All that was listed for Carolina was safety Aaron Francisco, who came from Indianapolis and hasn’t exactly had a storied career. Well, I’m not laughing now. I’m not saying Francisco’s going to start or do anything outstanding. But I did notice him making some plays out there. Looks like a guy who can help this team as a safety and on special teams.

  • The most exciting play I caught involved two rookies, who don’t figure to be in prominent roles anytime soon. But quarterback Tony Pike threw a nice deep path that was caught by a leaping Trent Guy in the end zone.

  • Like I said, I’ll have much more on the Panthers on Monday and Tuesday and I’ll be working on their Camp Confidential segment for later in the week and their overall preview as we get closer to the start of the regular seasons.