Now the Real Work Begins


What will the coaches see starting tomorrow during the Carolina Panthers first mini camp?

The first things they’ll see are a lot of new faces.  I hope they have score cards and rosters handy so they don’t have to yell, “Hey, you!” each time somebody screws up.

Consider that this mini camp will be attended by 39 players who were not on the roster at the end of the 2007 season.  That includes both veterans and rookies.  This could get really confusing for somebody.

There are a couple of key players who will not be participating so we can’t get our hopes up just yet – Jake Delhomme is still nursing his elbow and thirteenth-overall pick Jonathan Stewart still has to recover from his turf toe surgery.

What could be most interesting will be two areas – offensive and defensive line.

The offensive line returns center Ryan Kalil, Travelle Wharton and Jordon Gross.  Free agent acquisitions Milford Brown and Keydrick Vincent will be attempting to work their way into a lineup that is likely to include nineteenth-overall selection, tackle, Jeff Otah.

Along the defensive line there could be a shakeup as well with Julius Peppers returning along with Damione Lewis and Maake Kemoeatu.  But additions were made there also with the key acquisitions being free agents Tyler Brayton, Nick Hayden, Darwin Walker and Ian Scott.  The recent retirement of Mike Rucker and the trade of Kris Jenkins gave the team a nudge in drafting for the defensive line also adding Nick Hayden and Hilee Taylor.

The early answers might also begin to come when we get the opportunity to see guys like Dan Connor, D.J. Hackett, Muhsin Muhammad and others take the field in Panthers uniforms.

These aren’t exactly two-a-days in training camp so we won’t see a tremendous amount of hard work.  But the coaches will get to see the players they added up close so they will know what they can do – I’ll rephrase that – they’ll get an idea of what they can do.

Stay tuned.  More changes could be coming.