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My Notes on Friday's Panthers Practice

First and foremost I would like to comment on how difficult it has to be for a coach to decide which players get those final few spots on the roster, because two hours of practice a day for two weeks just doesn't seem like an adequate amount of time to truly evaluate these players. Now to my notes:

1) D. Florence was out today meaning that the secondary I got to observe was incomplete, which was disappointing. With him out Thomas and Cap were the starters with Cap sliding into the nickel and Norman playing the outside in 3 WR sets. Moore did play some nickel, but seemed to work primarily with the second team.

2) K. Barner looked extremely fast, and even more fluid. He had the play of the day when he broke a long run for a TD, and from my vantage point it didn't seem like one of those "oh we're not really hitting today so I'll let him go" TDs. On top of his running abilities he displayed very soft hands as a receiver. Also, as has already been mentioned he does seem to be the D's punching bag, they laid a few hits on him. Last thing I'm going to say on Barner is this, the coaches NEED to find a way to get this kid on the field.

3) The biggest surprise of the day for me came in the form of TE Dominique Curry, a player I didn't even know was with the team, and was not listed on the rosters handed out. Despite not being listed he had the two best catches of the day, both in traffic with tight coverage, and both passes from Clausen. He was thrown a third pass that he dropped, but that seemed only to be because he hit a player on the sideline. D. Curry displayed strong hands, solid route running abilities, decent speed, and most importantly the willingness to fight for contested balls. He is a third year player, and he did seem a bit on the small side for a TE, but he impressed me. His ability to stick on the team will likely hinge on having the ability to block, which I didn't get to see him try.

4) As several people have already mentioned Clausen looked quite good, and I would not be surprised if his play facilitates us being able to roll with only two QBs this season.

5) The "first team" oline was as advertised Bell(RT)-Williams(RG)-Kalil(C)-Silatolu(LG)-Gross(LT). Unfortunately due to where I was, I was having a horrible time trying to observe the oline's play and gave up. Though an interesting development was them trying the combo Campbell(RT)-Williams(RG)-Kalil(C)-Silatolu(LG)-Bell(LT). I'm not sure why they tried this combo, but it did seem Bell was more successful against Hardy than Gross was.

6) J. Adams looked very solid as a wide receiver today, he showed a physicality that I didn't expect from him. I feel comfortable in saying he will win the last receiver spot.

7) Nick Hixson showed solid athleticism and coverage ability at the CB position. The coaches seemed to enjoy watching him match up against J. Adams as they battled several times. I don't think he'll make the 53, but I would stash him on the practice squad, let him develop, and give him another shot next year when Moore and Florence's contracts are up.

8) I didn't get to see Ginn thrown to much, but he was lined up in the slot several times, and caught what was thrown to him. I get the impression the coaches like him.

9) Brenton Bersin got a lot of work with the second team today and seemed to hold his own. I think he makes the practice squad this year, and has a good shot at making the 53 next year when Ginn and Hixon's contracts are up.

10) Mitchell and Godfrey seem pretty entrenched as the starters at SS and FS. From what I could tell they played well together and should be able to do what is asked of them.

11) Klein got some first team reps today and looked solid. I think the future of our LB corps looks quite bright with him and Keek.

12) Olsen made three very nice plays today. He seemed faster and more fluid in the open field than I remember him being last year.

13) Brockel was used a lot as a TE today, showing solid blocking skills. He and B. Williams seem to be the two favorites at the #2 TE position, I like both of them and look forward to seeing how the team uses them in the Preseason.

14) Though Armanti wasn't thrown to today, as far as I could tell, he did line up several times as an outside WR with Smitty in the slot. It seems the #3 WR is between him and Ginn.

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