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1st Day of Panthers Training Camp: Rambling Impressions

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

As a preamble to this post, I am one who goes to training camp to enjoy myself and that means no note taking. Also, as I was on my own, I could only look at one portion of Gibbs Stadium at a time. With that said, here are my first TC impressions.

Offense

First, Christian McCaffrey is going to break some defensive ankles this season. On the second play from scrimmage (his first) in the 11 vs 11's he made a run between the tackles that was very impressive. He took the hand-off and cut into the line behind the left guard/left tackle and then 2 yards in he made a cut to the right that left two defenders facing at each other with that "Which way did he go-o-o-o-o-o?" look. He made two or maybe three runs that would have gone to the house against the defense. Didn't see CMC go through any individual drills with the wide outs...though I may have missed it. The running back rotation seems to be Stewart, McCaffrey, Whitaker, and then Artis-Payne and Simmons.

Curtis Samuel didn't show as well...but it is early. His quickness of the LOS is impressive but I didn't see a lot of balls going his direction. They did put in a play during installations where he was the option pitch on an end around that should have defenses worried. The only notable play I recall is that Cam tattooed him in the middle of the shoulder pads on a pass that he never got the handle on.

Judging by the WR rotations in 11 vs 11's, I think the depth chart right now has Benjamin, Funchess, Samuel, Byrd, and Shepherd as the top 5. I did see Funchess make a couple of nice catches but near the end of the second 11 vs11's it looked like he twisted unnaturally and may have stretched something. He was taken back to the Field House sitting in the front seat of a cart. Hopefully it's a cramp or just a tweek. Suspect the big time media will get a statement on his condition tonight.

QB rotation was just as expected with just routine performances. Joe Webb did run routes with the wide receivers in some individual workouts and I seem to remember him lining up on the outside once in 11 vs 11's.

The TE depth chart is Olsen, Dickson, and then seems to be a toss up between Simonson and Manhertz. I did see several incompletions in Simonson's direction while ManHertz caught everything I saw thrown to him...including reaching back to catch a ball well behind him. A couple of his catches were in heavy traffic, too.

The offensive line is as you would expect. Starting Ryan Kalil, Matt Kalil, Trai Turner, Andrew Norwell and rotating Daryl Williams and Taylor Moton...with Williams going in first. This group looked serviceable but Tyler Larson got a lot of time in for Ryan Kalil. Guess they will take it slow with him. The other noticeable thing with the OL was that with the 3rd grouping they were using Dan France at Left Guard and Amini Silatolu at Left Tackle. I would have expected that to be the other way around. Also noticeable was that in the individual drills it seemed like Williams and Moton seemed to paired against each other a lot. Coincidence? I don't know.

Defense

DB wise, James Bradberry and Mike Adams were the stars. Bradberry had a pick 6 in 11 vs 11's and Adams had a pick 6 and several defensed balls in drills.

Linebackers are a go as far as I could see. I didn't hone in on them much with their known strength. I did note that Luke Kuechly is back to form. He covers so much ground it amazes you.

Defensive line to start 11 vs 11's was DJ, KK, Star, and Julius Peppers with Addison and Horton first in the rotation at DE. Depth chart at DT seems to start with Vernon Butler and then I believe it will be Kyle Love.

Special Teams

A kicking battle seems to be in the works for Harrison Butker and Graham Gano. Both missed some FG's in the 40 yard range. beyond 50 yards was tough to judge from where I was but I believe they both missed a couple until Gano hit one well beyond 50 yards. When that happened they brought them in. Sure they wanted to end on a good note. No kickoffs or punts so those comparisons will have to wait. Also, did note that CMC worked out some with the special team units.

Guess that's it guys. The weather was clear with a little breeze so it was probably the nicest first day I've been to. There was a good crowd but I doubt it came close to exceeding the mob that was there last year. As always, I have a couple of irons in the fire with Panthers staffers so we may get a surprise but that hasn't been confirmed as yet. Keep coming to CSR and read the articles from real writers and I'll fade away for now.

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