Panther Paw Prints: End of May Edition

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 12: Amini Silatolu #61 at Carolina Panthers Rookie Camp on May 12, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

We've got another back of Panther Paw Prints for you, links from Panther related posts across the internet. Let's start with a quote from our lead defender, both on and off the field:

Beason says Panthers’ Kuechly was a safer pick than Luck or Griffin | ProFootballTalk

"I thought he was the safest pick in the first round, more so than Luck or RGIII just because those guys . . . are going to need pieces around them," Beason told the Charlotte Observer. There are some injury questions with the pieces around Kuechly, which is one of the reasons the Panthers want Kuechly to be ready to play multiple positions. Beason thinks Kuechly will be up to that. "He comes in, and great kid, smart kid. Really trying to learn anything," he said. "It’s going to be interesting to see how we use him."

So Beason seems to think the Panthers will use Kuechly in a variety of schemes and fashions? I would agree or at least I hope so. The kid has the speed to run blitz or drop into zone coverage depending on the call or match-up. I'm very glad to heart Beason talk good about the kid.

Continuing with Beason don't be disheartened he wasn't a full participant in OTA's. Did you see what happened to Hakeem Nicks? The Panthers will take a cautious approach with Beason and his rehab:

Fantasy Football Breaking News - Rotoworld.com
Panthers coaches are only allowing MLB Jon Beason (Achilles' surgery) to participate in installation walkthroughs at OTAs. "I'd like to believe when we get to training camp, we can put Jon in full-go at that point," said coach Ron Rivera. Observed Beason, "I think they're just protecting me from myself. Practice is practice." Beason tore his left Achilles' tendon in early September last year. He's expected to start in Week 1.

Protecting him from himself, I love it. Very true as well. Since Thomas Davis hurt himself last offseason I prefer the safe approach.

Moving to our star on the other side of the ball, even our HC was surprised by Newton's fast start to his rookie season:

NFL - Cam Newton focused on avoiding sophomore slump - ESPN
Rivera had certainly liked what he had seen, but not until Panthers PR czar Charlie Dayton handed him a stat sheet and pointed to Newton's numbers did he know that Newton had thrown for 400 yards. Rivera's first reaction was, "What?" His second, he said: "We might have something special." And then the next week against Green Bay, Newton did it again. "From day one he throws for 400 yards in the first two games," Rivera said. "That was impressive."

So what does Newton have in store for his second season:

Newton looks to take next step in development - Yahoo! Sports

''The playmakers are going to have to make plays; the leaders are going to have lead - if you have to ask yourself what you are, you're neither,'' said Newton. ''So I think it's kind of a given who the leaders on this team are.''

I love that quote...'if you have to ask yourself what you are, you're neither'. Might be the quote of the offseason so far.

Now that we signed Mike Tolbert expect the "Will Panthers trade Jonathan Stewart" rumors to kick up. Here's the first one I've seen speculating:

Would the Pittsburgh Steelers Take Jonathan... | Gather
His rookie year the young running back replaced his injured teammate, DeAngelo Williams and piled up 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns. Since then though, his numbers have dropped. For that reason Carolina brought in some insurance with running back Mike Tolbert.

As if his numbers dropping are his fault on a #32 ranked offense in 2010. Isn't this the same analysis made of Steve Smith last offseason? If we fix the offensive line this is a top 3 offense. Speaking of the offensive line, here's a guy that is key:

Panthers try to find a way to motivate Otah

However, some in the organization think Otah's biggest issue is toughness, or a lack thereof. Many thought he'd have been able to come back more quickly from the knee problems that plagued him in 2010, but he couldn't push through. When Ron Rivera hired his coaching staff last year, he added long-time war-horse tackle Ray Brown as an assistant offensive line coach, in part to try to reach Otah. The thinking was, the 20-year NFL vet could teach Otah about playing through pain, as he so often did during his career. But Otah played just four games last year, and when the left knee issues cropped up again, they placed him on injured reserve.

So they think Otah has a toughness issue? I'm not sure that is true but either way I like the way they are handling Otah. Make him earn it is fair given he hasn't played in essentially two seasons.

Ummm...this first sentence sums up my objection to this post:

Why Jimmy Clausen Must Impress During 2012 Training Camp: Fan's Take - Yahoo! Sports

Clausen is a much better quarterback than he is given credit for. His big problem in years past is that he was constantly under fire by the pass rush. He began checking down immediately to keep from getting hammered, and now he seems to do that right away before going through his progressions. This is something that can be fixed if he is willing to open things up during training camp. Jimmy Clausen needs to simply let go and let it all hang out during the preseason. He should get some snaps to keep Anderson and Newton healthy, so he needs to show other teams that he can be much better than in years past. If he can, then perhaps he can start again one day in the NFL. At a minimum, Clausen could serve as a decent back up if he got it together once again.

Now let me be clear I hope he does well and let's it all hang out. Maybe we can get a draft pick for him at the end of the preseason.

What has the NFL come to?

New CBA has Rivera watching clock - Carolina Panthers - CBSSports.com RapidReports

he NFL is turning its workers into clock-watchers. Citing the new CBA, coach Ron Rivera said players can only work for six hours, with a half-hour extension, during Phase III of OTAs. To remain in compliance, Rivera joked after Thursday's organized workout that earlier this week he was forced to kick players out of the film room.

Imagine that, having to kick them out of the film room. I hope he really is joking.

Mature Newton lightens Panthers' mood, even as his load grows - Panthers - NewsObserver.com

He’s "encouraging teammates to keep working hard, and pushing himself," says Rivera. "Really, the one thing about Cam, he just doesn’t say it, he does it. I’m pretty excited about what were getting from him."

So the guy that will "never command a locker room" as his detractors stated is now backing up his words with effort and hard work.

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