We’ll See You in July!


As expected, the Carolina Panthers mini camp/summer school let out one week early.  Orginally scheduled for four weeks, John Fox has excused the team one week early.

The Panthers wrapped up their three weeks of offseason training activities workouts this morning, and coach John Fox pronounced himself pleased with what he had seen. The fourth week was called off, but it always is, and now players and officials will scatter to visit family and friends, take vacations and relax while they await the opening of training camp in Spartanburg July 25.

More after the jump.

Coach Fox says he’s pleased with the workouts his team put in.

On the makeover of the offensive line, one of the biggest storylines of this season, Fox said after the workout, “I think we’ve made a conscious effort to get bigger up there, and I don’t think we’ll get a true idea of that until we get into pads and evaluate guys moving forward. Again, there’s a lot of new faces there, but they’ve been very productive as far as how they’ve moved along in our system.”

Fox also mentioned that RB Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers’ top draft pick, is out of the boot he’s had to wear for a lingering toe injury and is making good progress in his recovery. Stewart missed the OTAs because his school is on the quarter system and wasn’t finished in time, but he could not have practiced anyway with the injury. He’s expected to be ready to go for training camp.

If the coach is pleased I suppose we should all be pleased.  If all of those offensive linemen who will be lining up in new positions this season have it all down pat and are on the same page, that’s a great start.

Now, when the other kiddies are let out of their classes back in Oregon, Jonathan Stewart can finally do a little work with the team.  Have I said that I think that’s a stupid rule?  I think I have.

Stan Olson at the Observer also tells us that there could be a surprise player this season.

Now we wait for July 25 and, if possible, go to the beach. This is going to be an interesting team to watch. Want a sleeper to tell your friends about? Try free agent signee Toniu Fonoti. He appears to have boiled the much of the fat off of a body that has Pro Bowl ability when in shape, and could be the surprise of the O-line.

I might have never guessed it.  Thanks, Stan!

The team broke up their happy little gathering around team HQ feeling pretty good about their chances this year.

After players ran several back-to-back gassers to close out practice Thursday, they gathered at midfield, some with their shirts off and all of them drenched in sweat, and yelled in unison, “Tampa!”

Tampa, Fla., is the site of this season’s Super Bowl.

To reach that goal the Panthers have plenty of work ahead of them. But right now the confidence level is high.

“I anticipate we’re going to do some good things this year,” said quarterback Jake Delhomme.

“I really like what I’ve seen,” Delhomme said. “We’ve got some guys that want to work. I think we’ve filled a big leadership void on this team this off-season. It’s real good. So we’ll see what happens.”

It’s pretty easy to start getting excited about what lies ahead.  Shoot, if Jake is that excited, maybe we should all be excited.