Panther Paw Prints: Early June Edition

Jun 1, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers guard Mike Pollack walks to the practice field for organized training activities at the team's practice facility at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

We've got a fresh set of Paw Prints for you. The following is a collection of links with a little commentary collected from around the interwebz from the past few days:

This a good piece on Panther free agent signee OL Mike Pollak, who seems to have the versatility the Panthers look for in linemen:

Pollak poised for fierce competition
"Back in Indy, we knew where Peyton was going to be every single time he dropped back. Here, I'm trying to learn that the quarterback can be in different spots on the same play," Pollak said. "You've got to hold onto your blocks a second longer. You don't want to be the guy that lets pressure get to the quarterback. "I played a lot at left guard last year, but prior to that, I was at right guard a lot. I'm comfortable at both spots, plus I played center throughout my college career and a little bit with the Colts. I'm just trying to get on the field wherever I can."

Pollak is excited about the offense and playing with Cam which is always good to hear. I like this signing a lot more after reading this and now feel good about including him in my recent 53 man roster prediction.

So Sherrod Martin must be getting really serious about his job; he cut his dreads off:

Carolina Panthers’ big-hitter Sherrod Martin faces contenders | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper
"Probably only people from my hometown have seen me with a low cut," said Martin, who is from Griffin, Ga. "Some guys were shocked I did it. I got a few compliments. I ain’t never been a bad-looking guy, so …"

One less possible distraction while playing is my thought. Glad to see he is focused and working on his tackling. More after the jump...

More on Martin and that tackling issue:

Around the NFC South - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The Panthers brought in Haruki Nakamura and Reggie Smith, but Sherrod Martin still believes the starting job at free safety is his. But Martin acknowledges he has to improve his tackling. He missed far too many open-field tackles last season. I think Martin has the inside track on the starting job. But I think coach Ron Rivera will keep him on a very short leash. We could see Nakamura or Smith pushed into the lineup the first time Martin misses a tackle.

So both Nakamura and Smith are free safeties? If we do go with more of a traditional SS-FS backfield I imagine one of the three won't make the 53 man roster.

So apparently there is a reason LB Luke Kuechly remains the highest drafted player that has already signed his contract. The Panthers didn't bother with 'off set ' language in his contract:

"Offset" language could be an issue for top eight contracts | ProFootballTalk
Here’s how it works. If a player has a guaranteed salary of $1 million with offset language and he’s released and signs with a new team for a base salary of $1 million, the first team is off the hook. With no offset language, the player gets $1 million from the first team and $1 million from the new team.

So why would you draft a guy that high if you thought there was a significant enough risk of him busting that you would put protective language in his contract? Marty Hurney doesn't know either. I find it amusing the Panthers have now made it harder for the other 8 teams to sign their players with the off set language in the contract. Hey, the longer we keep them out of camp the better for us I guess.

I am ecstatic to hear Rivera talking about Greg Hardy in this fashion:

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Dante Rosario primed for breakout years - NFL.com
"Hardy has been tremendous," Rivera said. "Talk about growth in a young man. He's really matured in terms of being here every day on a voluntary basis, for the most part. I really am excited about him."

Though he's a slightly lighter Kraken he can still be released with the same amount of force! Beware the Kraken!

I'm still surprised this guy signed for ~$1M less than offered elsewhere just to come home and play football. But I digress. Apparently Tolbert feels he will be used in ways he has never been used:

Mike Tolbert signed with Panthers to return to South - NFL.com
"I can’t reveal it, but we’re learning some different stuff and doing some different things that I haven’t done in the past," Tolbert said. "Chud and coach (Ron) Rivera have a lot of confidence in me. With that being said, I’m going to go out and try to prove them right."

Now I'm really curious what they have in store for him.

I think Cam is over thinking this one:

Cam Newton still wonders which sources said he has a fake smile | ProFootballTalk
"What gets me all the time with you analysts is it’s always the sources," Newton said. "Where do people get the sources from? I was hearing sources from so many different arenas. ‘We have a source that says Cam Newton is this.’ I’m like, ‘Will the source please raise his hand or her hand?’ Because I want to know. Most of the things they were saying about me were not true by a long shot."

I think the answer is 'none', meaning the writer's didn't have a 'source'. They were simply making their own superficial assessment based on Lord knows what. We now know how that can backfire. Just ask Nawrocki.

A big thanks to those CSR members that post fanshots with links that support my weekly Paw Prints post. It's hard to keep track and credit you all individually but want you to know we do appreciate it. Keep the fanshots coming!

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