Published: August 11th, 2009 | Tags: Carolina Panthers, Chris Harris, Dwayne Jarrett, Everette Brown, Jake Delhomme, Jeff Otah, Jon Beason, Jordan Gross, Kenny Moore, Maa'ka Kemoeatu, Marty Hurney, Pat Kirwan, Ron Meeks, Thomas Davis
Here are a few of my observations after visiting Carolina Panthers training camp on Monday:
1. LB Thomas Davis called the injury to DT Maa’ka Kemoeatu a ‘big loss’ and recognized that the big guy kept blockers off himself and fellow LB Jon Beason. I’m sure the Panthers will make a personnel move to bring in a veteran defensive tackle.
2. QB Jake Delhomme feels WR Dwayne Jarrett has made a lot of progress in his strength, route running and maturity and will be a factor this season. Jarrett caught two touchdowns at practice in a live red zone passing drill earlier in the day. Delhomme also likes WR Kenny Moore as a slot receiver. Backup QB Josh McCown called Moore a real good route runner who can do things after the catch.
3. Not one player on second offensive line has started an NFL game, but GM Marty Hurney likes what he sees in the group and believes there is no reason to be out looking for a veteran at this time.
4. S Chris Harris said new defensive coordinator Ron Meeks constantly talks about team speed and pursuit: “Every time we don’t get 11 players to the ball, we do the pursuit drills and no one likes doing them.” The Panthers defense is flying around and doing less of the pursuit drills every day.
5. Rookie DE Everette Brown said the defense is finally starting to sink in and he’s hoping to play at full speed soon. After watching him rush the passer — and his run defense may be underrated — Brown (43rd overall) looks like a steal in the second round.
6. Second-year RT Jeff Otah looks like an All-Pro this summer. He told me he knows what he’s doing after spending his rookie season asking Delhomme what to do on plays on his way up to the line of scrimmage. Otah regularly de-cleated defenders during the team scrimmage at practice.
7. Opponents beware, Delhomme has been working on his hard count at the line of scrimmage and got the defense to jump a few times at practice. LT Jordan Gross commented that there is a big advantage for the offensive line if the defense is concerned about the QB using a good hard count.
Those are my observations from Panthers camp. I’ll be attending practices for the Falcons, Jaguars, Bucs and Dolphins the rest of the week, and will be posting more camp observations for you.
– Pat Kirwan