The other shoe dropped on Wednesday. Ian Scott had been out of practice for an extended time due to an MCL sprain. The Carolina Panthers released him after reaching an injury settlement.
This adversely affects the quality of DT depth behind starters Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis. Gary Gibson probably benefits most, becoming the No. 4 DT option, with Darwin Walker No. 3.
“He did everything right. He was a kid we liked and it was very unfortunate,” coach John Fox said. “The way it worked out there’s a chance when he gets healthy that we can bring him back later in the season. We felt like we dealt with him fairly and he did a fantastic job for us.” (Gaston Gazette)
“I think depth-wise we’re fine, but you are always looking to improve the quality of your team,” Fox said.
The Panthers filled Scott’s spot on the roster by signing wide receiver Sean Bailey from the University of Georgia. He started 12 games and had 37 receptions for 597 yards and four touchdowns for the Bulldogs last season.
Scott was signed to add much needed depth to a defensive tackle rotation that truly was short on bodies. It’s possible that Gibson makes this team after all. The kid has looked good and everyone who has seen him in practice has raved about him.
Rookie TE Gary Barnidge returned to practice after missing extended time with a glute injury.
You know it has to be a bad day when you hurt your posterior but he’s back on the field. That’s good news for a team that had been missing so many receivers and tight ends.
More good news. Chris Harris says he’ll be ready for the season opener.
Safety Chris Harris did some running drills outside on Wednesday and said he’ll “definitely” be ready for the season opener against San Diego.
“It’s day-to-day and (when I get on the field) depends on the trainers, but I felt pretty good being able to run out here for the first time,” Harris said.
The secondary is another area hit hard by injury and getting Harris back would be a major boost.
The bad news is that there are still key players out missing time.
Receivers D.J. Hackett (toe), Muhsin Muhammad (ribs) and Ryne Robinson (knee) were held out of practice on Wednesday.
When asked when he hopes to get Hackett back, Fox replied, “I hope to get a lot of those guys back on Monday, but whether that comes to reality or not I don’t know yet. That’s up to the medical people.”
Hackett hasn’t caught a pass from Jake Delhomme in a preseason game this year and the two men have had little chance to develop chemistry with Hackett sidelined for most of training camp. But that doesn’t seem to worry Fox.
“The key is he’s caught passes from a lot of good quarterbacks,” Fox said. “Not to take anything away from the timing you have with your own quarterback – I would prefer he be out there and so would he – but the reality is hasn’t been. But we saw quite a bit of him in the OTAs and in camp before the injury. We’re just hoping to get him back out there as soon as possible.”
I’m beginning to wonder if Hackett was a good investment or not. The guy has barely been on the field, has had no work with the starters and is still going to be pressed into service for the first two weeks of the season.
As expected, the starters will get extended playing time this weekend versus the Redskins.
“How long they will play in the third quarter will be based on how many reps they’ve gotten,” Fox said.
Running back Jonathan Stewart will get some carries behind the first-team offensive line, according to Fox.
Another rookie is looking sharp. Or is it the same rookie who has looked sharp since day one?
Fox remains impressed with rookie Charles Godfrey, who continues to work with the first team at free safety.
“We have an adage that people live up or down to expectations,” said Fox. “We’ve had high expectations for him. He’s met those. Until we get into the regular season and really get any kind of body of work going, we won’t know, but he’s been everything we thought he is.”
And more bad news – for the players on the borderline. Cuts are coming early next week.
The Panthers must trim their roster from 80 to 75 next Tuesday, with the final cuts to 53 coming on Aug. 30. The Panthers will actually be at 54 for two weeks while Steve Smith is on the reserve-suspended list.