Unfortunately, I was unable to see most of the defensive positional drills, and as a result, my observations are offense-centric. As you read through, keep in mind that these plays are in chronological order, generally speaking.
-Complete to Ginn.
-Davis drops an easy INT over the middle. As you would expect, punishes himself with push-ups.
-Complete to Hartsock on a short out route.
-Complete to Moss; May have been a sack in live action because it took too long to develop.
-Complete to Lafell.
-Complete to Shaw
-Nakamura Intercepts errant pass
-Complete to Moss
-Complete to Smitty(surprised he was catching a pass from Anderson)
-Complete to Pilares
-Complete to Ginn
-Short completion to Moss
-Williams busts through the heart of the defense for a nice gain.
-Complete over the middle to Smitty; Munnerlyn defending.
-Overthrows open Olsen in the back of the endzone.
-Direct snap to Williams
-Delayed hand-off from Williams to Barner
-Kuechly blows up reverse to Ginn in the backfield.
-Smitty lines up on the outside, breaks formation, begins running toward the backfield, and fumbles the direct snap as he passes just in front of Williams who was seemingly there to take the snap. Nice thought, but poor execution. I would love to see this one during the regular season.
-Smitty lines up on the outside, begins again to run toward the backfield, but this time Williams receives the snap a second or two before 89 crosses in front of him; Williams fakes a handoff to Smitty, only to keep it himself.
-Direct snap to Barner.
-Direct snap to Barner, who fakes hand-off to Bersin as he crosses in front of him.
-Direct snap to Barner.
-Reverse to Moss, which is blew up in the backfield.
-Complete to Smitty
-Fakes hand-off, keeps it himself.
-Threaded the needle to Pilares beautifully for a thirty yard(or so) touchdown over the middle.
-Ikharo drops hot inaccurate pass. Surprised to see him on the field with Cam.
My Take Away
Even though I missed the first and last fifteen minutes of practice due to extenuating circumstances, I was still able to come away with some interesting nuggets.
-It was a pleasant surprise watching practice in Wofford's football stadium. All of my previous training camp viewings were at the Terrier's practice fields.
-This probably goes without saying, but Pilares is on the outside looking in, but he'll be snatched up quickly if he does indeed get cut.
-This is redundant, but Smitty is such a pleasure to watch in person. Not only do I appreciate how much he still has left in the tank at 34, but also how much he respects the game of football by working diligently every chance he gets, even if it is just practice. Aging is inevitable, but 89's tenacity never gets old, and the memory of that energy will continue to live on well past his playing days.
-Speaking of age, Williams is getting long in the tooth in dog, I mean running back years, but he looks as spry as ever. I expect a big year from number 34 with or without Stewart on the field.
-Cam was mostly on target, but wasn't as sharp(footwork;accuracy) as I would have hoped. He still has enormous potential to improve and will continue to be viewed as a work in progress until he takes the Panthers to the playoffs.
-Clausen deserves more second team repetitions, but the coaching staff is hesitant to give him much of a chance, which is baffling. Personally, I would have already given him the second team nod in the first two preseason games if only to generate potential trade interest.
-Lafell looks very good and appears to be faster than he used to be. I believe most of us would agree that a relatively slow forty yard dash isn't always an accurate indicator of how well a player runs in pads on the field in a live game situation, but how many of us realize that these high level athletes have the ability to improve their speed into their late twenties? It is my assertion that Lafell happens to be one of those guys whose acceleration has improved since his college days.
-Perhaps the most interesting part of practice was the wildcat portion. I don't expect to see these formations a great deal during the regular season, but it will be used occasionally in order to keep certain defenses off balance, and Barner may be the perfect player to do just that.
-I was somewhat surprised by how much burn newly signed wide receiver, Dale Moss, received during practice. As you may have noticed in my notes, he lined up with Newton, Anderson, and Clausen at the helm. Make no mistake, the coaching staff is well aware of his formidable athleticism, and they are giving him every opportunity to prove he is better than previous practice squad freak, Lamont Bryant. From my perspective, Moss looked the part, and made the most of the snaps he was given. Moving forward, he must master the subtle nuances the receiver position requires if he expects to make it in this league. Look for Moss to see a great deal of playing time in the fourth and final preseason game, where he'll essentially be auditioning for a practice squad invite.
Last but not least, I was able to witness an incredible athlete before practice began at the Play 60 event, and I must say his future looks awfully bright. Click below to see for yourself.