In the past months, numerous players from NFL have been holding informal workouts for their teams. Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints in workouts, and Josh Freeman began leading workouts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It seemed as though every team was having workouts besides the Carolina Panthers. With the lockout barring all team officials contact with the players, the Panthers needed one player to step up and lead the team.
Steve Smith has been rumored to want out of Carolina, so many fans believed he wouldn’t take the leadership position. Cam Newton isn’t familiar with the team, so he probably wouldn’t lead the workouts. And, just when it seemed as though the Panthers would skip on informal workouts, Jordan Gross stepped in and set up a workout at a private school in South Carolina.
Gross has long been viewed as a leader for the Panthers, and he proved that with the organization of the workouts. He wanted his workouts to closely simulate the offseason workouts the coaches would hold. He found the venue and over 50 of the Panthers players showed to the workout.
Gross barred all reporters from the workout, going as far as hiring police to rid the workout of any media. Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen are thought to have been at the workouts together.
The Carolina Panthers are taking a step in the right direction now. If the Panthers want any chance of Cam Newton starting on day one, they need to convene and practice as a team. Newton will need direction on the playbook and associating himself with the team.
Honestly, if the lockout persists into July, when training camps are scheduled to begin, the Panthers may be required to start Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. Newton needs time to develop into a starting quarterback, albeit one offseason should provide plenty of preparation. Newton has the ability to be the “saving grace” for the Panthers, they just need to stick with the workouts.
If the lockout should persist into July and August, look for Gross to plan informal training camps to ready his team for the season. Gross is the leader we needed, and he is doing all he can to prepare for any season the NFL may have.
So Panthers fans, thank Jordan Gross. Without him, we may be stuck with starting Jimmy Clausen for a majority of the coming season.