Monday, August 3, 2009

Panthers watch, day 1

I am at the disadvantage of not being at camp, but based on all reports, and a conversation with our own Tim Baier, the morning workout was good, except for some injuries.

Maake Kemoeatu was carted off with an ankle injury. No update on how serious it is just yet, so we'll be keeping tabs on that. As mentioned in the previous entry, the defensive line is especially thin when it comes to depth, so this will give the coaches a chance to see some other face in that spot. Already, Marlon Favorite has been plugged in to take Kemo's reps.

Jon Beason had a hamstring wrap during practice--he apparently tweaked it before camp. the wrap was precautionary, and Beason told Tim Baier that he's fine.

I was at camp on Sunday for the player arrivals, and was surprised to hear the candid nature of Steve Smith as he addressed returning to Spartanburg, and his desire to be one of the team's leaders. Smith has had to endure endless criticism for his part in last year's training camp fight, and I give him high marks for stepping up, and letting the media inside his head. He's remorseful, and wants to prove to everyone that he's not the bad guy some make him out to be. The team did well to put that incident behind them, so the fact that Smith volunteered his thoughts was a sign (to me anyway), that he's still feeling the affects of it, and wants to make things right.

On the flip side, Julius Peppers was playing hide-and-seek from the media Sunday. He parked his Maserati on a sidewalk next to the dorms (I would too, if I drove one of those babies), and once he ducked into the building, he sent Panthers team helpers (read kids) to get his bags from the car. No idea when he moved his car (if he did at all), as I headed back to Charlotte after about an hour's worth of stake-out.

Peppers has every right not to address the media. I get that. I'm not griping about him ducking the cameras and tape recorders. What he has to realize is that his contract puts him squarely under the microscope. He will be paid an average of $1 million dollars per game. He knows it, the fans know it, the league knows it. For those reasons, Peppers needs to be the big time player that he has shown to be in the past. If he is not playing well, his distance from the media could be a bad thing. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Loads of camp news on News 14 Carolina, so make sure you check it out!

Mike Solarte

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