This morning, the Carolina Panthers’ players dragged themselves out of bed and went back to school. The teacher in the front of the room wasn’t some school marm wearing those pointed eye glasses with the chain hanging around her neck. It was a coach who was probably no happier than the players about getting up at 6:00 am.
The team is allowed to have 14 days worth of organized team activities, all of which are voluntary. There will be three sessions this week and four sessions for each of the next two weeks.
“It gives us a chance to be on the field, coaching and getting to find out about our players,” said coach John Fox. “That can’t be in pads, but (the summer school sessions) do help prepare you for training camp.”
Ya’ know those meetings the boss drags you into when you know you’ll be there all day? You know the ones. You walk into that meeting room thinking, “This is such a waste of time! I have no idea why I even bothered! I should have called in sick.” It’s probably something like that. Or not.
The coaches are teaching these guys. Any new plays being added to the playbook are being discussed and the rookies are getting an earful. They have to – well sort of. Jonathan Stewart (toe) and Jeff Otah (ankle sprain) didn’t take part in the on-field camp so earlier this month so they had to be in classrooms listening.
“They were still in the meetings, and coaches were asking them questions and putting them on the spot,” Fox said. “Both Jeff (Otah) and Jonathan (Stewart) were in those settings. They weren’t able to come out here and actually do it physically but to be able to recite that and know that they have an understanding, that’s helpful also.”
There is one exception this time around in the meetings as Jonathan Stewart can’t attend because NCAA rules prohibit him from being here to do his part because Oregon hasn’t completed their spring semester and he has yet to graduate. His Oregon teammate and current Panther teammate, Geoff Schwartz is here because he has graduated.
Players who could be around for the fun-fest called OTA’s weren’t just in classrooms, though. They also hit the practice fields.
Good news! Jake Delhomme was throwing with the first team offense! He was getting more involved since he wasn’t just out there throwing some passes with the other quarterbacks. He was lining up and wound up tossing about 40 passes in the session. He said his elbow felt fine – as if he isn’t already tired of answering that question by now.