Carolina Panthers Mailbag: Training Camp, Wide Receivers & Greg Hardy
Panthers training camp is in full swing and it’s time for our first mailbag. We’ll do this weekly throughout the year. Make sure to send in your questions on Twitter. The best questions are featured and answered right here!
I was pretty harsh on Hardy the other day on the show. I think as fans, we should care about how athletes carry themselves, act and represent our city and team off-the-field. Hardy is a perfect example of that. With that said, Hardy reportedly received plenty of cheers and encouragement earlier this week at training camp in Spartanburg. Fans generally care about winning and losing and who can produce on the field. Expect a mostly warm reaction from the Panthers fans in week two against Detroit.
Wow. A Tom Nelson question? Your Panthers fandom will never be questioned. Nelson is a journeyman safety who is merely nothing more than what we like to call a “camp body.” Nelson signed on the other day to fill an open roster spot. Regardless, he should be in Spartanburg tomorrow and ready to go through the paces.
Great question. It’s still so early, but you asked. So that means I have to answer, right? The areas where improvement need to occur is definitely offensive line, wide receivers and quarterback (not that Cam didn’t play well a year ago, but you’d love to see continued development and improvement) but at this point in camp, we haven’t seen any spectacular play or improvement for various reasons. If I had to pick the one unit right now, I’d say tight ends. Greg Olsen led the Panthers in receptions a year ago and it’s not farfetched to think he does so again this year. Ed Dickson seems to have slid in nicely as a secondary option and in two tight end sets. Let’s remember, Cam had great success in the passing game three years ago with the pairing of Olsen and Shockey.
Define “reliable.” I kid, I kid. Clearly this a wait-and-see type of thing. I think Kelvin Benjamin’s basement as a rookie is going to be higher than most have predicted. That being said, his route running is something he’s going to have to work on. DB’s at this level will find ways to redirect him on longer routes, especially from 20 to 20. His body and frame are so large that he’s going to find ways to be in position and make plays, though. Again, if the two tight end sets are as successful as the Panthers hope, don’t be surprised to see defenses soften and Benjamin and Cotchery to find success. And, as always, the running game will be crucial to allowing the passing game to find success. Expect a lot of eight-man fronts early in the year until the Panthers prove they can make plays.