NFL Nation: Kenneth Moore
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.
Can Carolina coach John Fox trust a rookie wide receiver?
He’d better. Although Fox is the ultimate creature of habit and rarely has given young wide receivers big opportunities in the past, that might not be possible this year. That’s simply because Fox really doesn’t have much choice.
Jarrett is a good example of Fox’s tendency to go slow with young receivers. The coach doesn’t like to play them because they’re capable of making mistakes. Aside from Keary Colbert, who had a decent rookie year before disappearing, Fox never has given a rookie receiver much playing time.
But Fox, who is in the last year of his contract, needs to think more about possible big plays than possible big mistakes by LaFell and Edwards. The Panthers desperately need someone to take some of the defensive attention off Smith.
LaFell is big and strong and has all of the tools to be an every-down receiver. Edwards is speedy and dynamic and can give the Panthers a real slot receiver for the first time in years.
Fox has been given the parts he needs at wide receiver. Now he just has to use them.
No matter who Smith was playing with, this isn’t good news for the Panthers in any way. Their best player won’t be available for the start of training camp. All indications are Smith should be ready for the start of the regular season. But he’s going to miss some valuable practice time with quarterbacks Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen. That’s going to hurt Moore and Clausen more than it will Smith.
If you’re looking for some sort of bright spot, here’s a small one. Smith’s injury means the rest of the receivers will get more work in camp. That’s a good thing because the rest of the receiving corps needs all the work it can get.
Carolina drafted Brandon LaFell, Armanti Edwards and David Gettis this year. The Panthers also have Dwayne Jarrett, who’s been a bust since coming into the league. Other than that, the roster looks like this: Trent Guy, Dexter Jackson, Charly Martin, Kenneth Moore, Wallace Wright and Oliver Young.
Maybe the Panthers will go out and sign another receiver or two before camp, but don’t expect anything big from a team that’s not making any big moves right now. It’s more likely the Panthers will just throw all those young guys out there in camp and see who rises up.
The list of inactive players for Carolina includes receiver Kenneth Moore, defensive end Charles Johnson, safety Charles Godfrey, running back Mike Goodson, fullback Brad Hoover, guard Duke Robinson and defensive end Hilee Taylor. A.J. Feeley is the third quarterback.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
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