Panther Paw Prints: End of June Edition

Here's an end of June batch of Paw Prints for your browsing pleasure Panther fans.

Somehow this author thinks the key to a good secondary is the secondary:

Top Five NFL Contenders for Best Defense - NFL Mocks - 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Fantasy Football, NFL News, and NFL Mock Draft Databases
#4 – Carolina Panthers If this were purely ranking front sevens, there is no question the Carolina Panthers would be on top.  They have a defensive line headlined by Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson and perhaps the best linebacker in the NFL in Luke Kuechly.  Spearheaded by them, Carolina fielded the 2nd best defense in football last season.  Unfortunately questions abound regarding their secondary at both corner and safety.  Until that gets resolved, the Panthers will have to settle for #4 on this list.

Gotta love a high schooler telling Newton how to run a WR route:

Spartanburg Dorman impresses in Cam Newton’s 7-on-7 high school tournament | NFL Football | The State
"That’s not the route, man," one shouted from the back of the line. "It’s 12 yards, not 15." "My bad," Newton said as he ran back to the front of the line to run the route again – this time correctly.

Thomas Davis talks demonstrates true loyalty:

Carolina Panthers LB Thomas Davis would retire rather than play elsewhere | Carolina Panthers |
"If I’m going to play football and represent an organization, it’s going to be with the team that stuck beside me and never gave up on me," Davis, 31, said, staring straight into an Observer reporter’s eyes. "My mindset right now is, I’m going to play for the Carolina Panthers or I’m done playing football."

I always love hearing the answer to this question:

Q&A: Carolina Panther Kenjon Barner on trash-talking Cam Newton and learning a blocking scheme in a nightclub |
What's your welcome to the NFL moment? A: Against Tampa Bay. That was my welcome-to-the-NFL hit. I can't remember the guy's name but he caught me pretty good. What was the situation? A: Just at the end of the game. I saw a linebacker coming and I saw a safety. In my mind (laughs) I say, 'I'm going to hit this safety.' Well, he met me. He hit me, I felt it (laughs).

I imagine it was Mark Barron.

How is it one pundit can say we were terrible at the safety position and the next provide evidence of just the opposite?

Carolina Panthers: S Robert Lester
A player that contributed to that cause but didn't receive much national attention was safety Robert Lester, who finished the season ranked as the 15th-best player at the position by Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He intercepted three passes and didn't look like an undrafted rookie.  Lester will battle Roman Harper (formerly of the New Orleans Saints) for the starting strong safety job, and even if he loses out to the veteran Harper, there's no doubt he'll see the field this season and will be looking to improve upon his sensational rookie form.

Jason Avant makes a great point about longevity as a WR in the NFL:

Fowler: Panthers wide receiver Jason Avant ready to prove himself again at 31 | Scott Fowler |
"As you get older," Avant said, "if you’ve been playing the game the right way and doing the small things, you don’t age as fast. You don’t have to try to reinvent yourself. There are a lot of fast guys who lose a step and then they can’t get open anymore because they’ve been playing with speed. I haven’t depended on speed so it doesn’t affect me. You see Tim Duncan at age 38 still being able to play at such a high level because he’s been a great fundamental player his whole career."

Looking back at mini-camp we had a surprise stand out at WR:

Joe Person: 20 observations from Carolina Panthers’ OTAs |
After all of the offseason talk about the Panthers wanting to give young wideouts Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt opportunities, Kealoha Pilares might have made the biggest impact among the holdovers at receiver. Pilares, who lost most of the past two seasons to injuries, showed good quickness on underneath routes and caught nearly everything thrown his way.

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