Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer school lets out; Moore confident

Charlotte – As they walked off the field for the last time this summer behind Bank of America Stadium, the Carolina Panthers felt assured their offense can compete with any team in the NFL. These players will next meet under the scorching sun of Spartanburg, SC for training camp.

Matt Moore stepped in as a leader during the four weeks of workouts, a position he earned starting the final five games of the 2010 season.

“You know the passing camp the first three days was big. I know everyone in the passing game, the receivers, the running backs, everybody loved it,” he said. “Everyone has been saying we're a young team, but we're going to try to use that to our advantage and these sessions here have really helped us progress quickly.”

Head Coach John Fox dismissed the effects of youth on this Panthers squad and the tenor of his practices.

“It hasn't been different, even with a veteran team they haven't played since last January,” he explained. “No question we're younger, but with that comes a lot of energy.”

Heading into his 10th season in the NFL Steve Smith seems content with the changes to the roster, knowing his role has evolved. With the retirement of Muhsin Muhammad, Smith has become the elder statesman.

“I'm just a high-paid entry level employee,” Smith cracked. “My role doesn't change, at the end of the day if you ain't making plays, your tenure in the league will be very short-lived.”

The Panthers have been billed as a run first, pass second offense, but ironically the players leaving OTAs (organized team activities) on Wednesday focused on putting the ball in the air.

“Everybody's working their tail off,” Smith said. “And I think without that happening we wouldn't have had such a good productive OTAs out of the passing game. It's been refreshing to come out here and run around. I enjoyed it.”

The Panthers will reconvene in Spartanburg, SC on July 28th at Wofford College for training camp. The teams first pre-season game will be August 12th at Baltimore.

In the meantime Smith says, “I'll go to Wimbledon, take my family to Italy and then sit on the beach for seven days in Barcelona. It's going to be tough, but I'll see what I can do.”

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