2012 Training Camp Week 1 Flashback

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

You can tell a lot in the first week of training camp. Now I'm not saying we hit on all our evaluations, not even close. But here are some excerpts I think were on spot.

Let's start with the Day 1 detailed practice notes I posted:

Panthers Training Camp 1st Practice Notes - Cat Scratch Reader
Stewart has a nice stretch play to the left that he cut back and looked to make good yardage but actually Kuechly was there but he pulled up D-Will had a strong run but got the hit of day on Beason who hit the ground and took off his helmet like he was a little perturbed but he bounced up quickly; Beason actually spent most of the day working on some individual stuff on the sideline but don't worry, he looks good and just being cautious.

Kuechly was flashing on day 1 yet being cautious with Beason was not a good omen. James on the other hand saw Josh Norman's cockiness from day 1 as well.

Carolina Panthers Training Camp: Day One Notes - Cat Scratch Reader
Chris Gamble sat out much of the day due to 'heat issues', something we found out after the fact. The players getting the lion's share of snaps were Josh Norman and Captain Munnerlyn. Norman has a huge amount of confidence, bordering on cockiness. Something that Steve Smith quickly abused as he burnt the rookie on a double move for a huge reception. Norman looks completely unafraid, and wanting to bump at the line of scrimmage. Given his size it should serve him well.

Challenging Steve Smith right out of the gate is never a good strategy though I applauded his moxie at the time. My first summary included a spot on follow up on Kuechly:

Panthers Impress This Fan in First Weekend of Training Camp - Cat Scratch Reader
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.

James also noted that Kuechly was playing the middle as much as he played the weakside so it was never much of transition to the middle once Beason went on IR. Here's one where I should have listened to my 'leery' side:

Panthers Training Camp Day 2 Notes & Observations - Cat Scratch Reader
They then went through the All 22 FG drill where Medlock was lights out on 7 of 8. Please know that even on the 50 yarders distance was not a problem, he had plenty of distance. There is a ‘BOOM' you cannot miss every time this guy kicks. I'm always leery of dropping the veteran kicker for an untested guy but Medlock seems to have what it takes. Expect to see plenty of him in the preseason as the Panthers try to add pressure to see how he handles it

Medlock did win the job over Mare but got cut midseason after missing three straight. He was also weak at kick offs so there was more to it than the FGs.

On day 2 the big news was reports of Newton throwing INTs and looking bad. James addressed that in detail:

Carolina Panthers Training Camp-- Day Two Summary - Cat Scratch Reader
I'll leave the chicken little, sky is falling, "ZOMG CAM IS THROWING PICKS!!!11!!" mentality to those with an agenda. What I saw from Newton was a player who, when trying, looked every bit as dynamic as we remember him. Particularly on Sunday I got a good look at his footwork, and it has definitely improved. His drop-backs are more natural, and his base is much more fluid. Cam is also stepping into his throws far better than last year, which you can tell is still a little unexpected for him. The ball is coming out far hotter than he's ready for, and it's scary to see him use about 70% of his energy to overthrow Steve Smith on a 45 yard deep ball by 10 yards. In time muscle memory will take over, and he'll know exactly how much arm he needs to put into that throw, but for now you still see him learning what he needs to do.

As it turned out Newton did struggle with a couple INTs at critical times early in the season but the notion of a sophomore slump never really materialized.

Rounding out this flashback is my week 1 fallers that nailed some dead wood:

Panthers Training Camp Week 1 Risers & Fallers - Cat Scratch Reader
OT Jeff Otah - The bar was already set low for Otah and he has gone under it easily. Two failed physicals with a 3rd expected today will do that.

WR Seyi Ajirotutu - The Panthers might disagree with me but I've seen a some key drops in practice from Seyi and if you can't do it in practice how can we trust you to do it in a game? I love his size and speed but he's still making too many mental mistakes for a 3rd year guy.

Both guys never made it to the roster.

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