Jul 28, 2012; Spartanburg, SC USA. A Carolina Panthers fan holds up a giant Cam Newton head during the training camp held at Wofford College. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
I'm still trying to find time to get all my notes written up which I will do later but I just had to put up a piece on who left me with good impressions after the first two practices. I've read some of the other write-ups including James and another good one from Brian Strickland on Panthers.com. Wow, where has detailed camp reporting like that been all these years? So I'm going to try and not overlap too much from those reports.
First off LB Luke Kuechly is the real deal as James said. He looks like he is shot out of a cannon on some of those drills and you can see the speed. Also, on his INT the kid read the play and reacts by stepping in front of Greg Olsen before we could even zero in on what happened. Our defense is definitely better with him on the field wherever he lines up.
I'm on the WR Brandon LaFell fan wagon, it's official. Yes, he dropped a pass, so what. Just about everything else he did with authority, with anticipation and a natural fluidity you can't coach. When players talk about the game slower down and getting easier I could tell that is what LaFell is now realizing. I can see him being a 1,000 yard receiver this year. More after the jump...
I know S Sherrod Martin has been a popular whipping boy over the offseason and maybe deservedly so. But I'm telling you I saw a guy reading and reacting this past weekend. Two INTs with nice returns on each day during All 22 drills plus he always seemed to be in position. I wouldn't doubt Martin hanging on to his job just yet.
RB Mike Tolbert will be active in this offense. Heck he might get the most snaps of the skill players. The Panthers ran tons of plays to the flat to Tolbert, split him out wide, ran him to to the inside. It's obvious Chud loves having a guy like him with great, and I mean GREAT hands. I didn't see him drop a ball all weekend. Whereas I thought Newton might get less yards this season I'm not so sure. Anytime Tolbert goes into the flat a LB has to follow and that was leaving the middle of the field wide open which means...there goes Cam! If you think just cause it was practice Newton wouldn't run well, he took off quite a bit.
Liek I mentioned I have detail notes on a couple All 22 sessions and then detail on what I thought was the best part of the weekend. Towards the end of the Sunday practice the 2nd and 3rd team offensive lines faces off against most of the defensive lines (minus CJ, Hardy & Edwards). They would line up 5 on 5 but then only one position would rush the passer. In this drill DE Ryan Van Begen impressed me as he showed the ability to make moves inside and out. He won all three of his match-ups in my view.
Check back later tonight for some more camp notes.