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Mason's Minutes: Non-Twittered tidbits

Posted Aug 6, 2009

Rip Scherer reaches out to try and strip away the football from Jake Delhomme. (PHOTO: ANDREW MASON / PANTHERS.COM)


SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The general pace and schedule of practice is similar to what it has been for the Panthers in their seven previous seasons under head coach John Fox. But the arrival of four new position coaches and a new defensive coordinator has altered the tenor of the drills many Panthers do during their camp practice.

A look at the quarterbacks provides an example, where coach Rip Scherer likes to simulate the kind of distractions that they'll experience on game days. During some practices this year, he's tossed tackling dummies at them. Thursday afternoon, he reached out and tried to strip the football as his passers darted around obstacles on the ground before rolling out into a throw.

Jake Delhomme, the eldest member of the four-man quarterback corps, might have thought he'd seen everything before experiencing Scherer's methods.

"(It's) just little things," he said. "The different bag work that we're doing. All the footwork we're doing. I know it's good. I think you've got to stay true to your fundamentals, and I think it's working well for me."

It's working physically -- and mentally.

"(Scherer talks about) ittle things in coverage, certain tips that they did at another place," Delhomme said. "Maybe I've been told it before, but (Scherer) might have said it in a way where it clicked in my brain."


(A.K.A. Tidbits from the Panthers' sixth practice of training camp -- and first this year without Twitter updates, thanks to the denial-of-service attack that scuttled efforts to send messages from the field.)

... A quintet of NFL officals, led by referee Jerome Boger, were on hand to observe practice. Former NFL official Gerry Austin, a longtime referee who retired after the 2007 season, was was also on hand ...

... Three Panthers sat out practice Thursday: linebacker Jon Beason (hamstring), offensive lineman C.J. Davis (ankle) and linebacker Thomas Davis (knee). Beason and C.J. Davis spent the practice working out with strength and conditioning coach Jerry Simmons ...

... Thomas Davis, who did not work out with Simmons, is "day to day," Fox said, adding, "It's nothing that will require surgery or any of those kinds of things." ...

... Landon Johnson filled in for Davis at weakside linebacker, while Dan Connor continued to hold down middle linebacking duties. Connor has been there since the first team period of the first training-camp practice Monday morning, when Beason aggravated the hamstring that he first strained two weeks ago during a workout ...

... Wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett bruised his wrist during the practice, but returned to action. "He's fine," Fox said ...

... The one-on-one duels were highlighted by a deep reception by Kenneth Moore and an interception by Richard Marshall. Moore's catch saw him work past rookie cornerback Sherrod Martin up the left sideline, allowing him space to reach out and lunge for a sliding touchdown grab. Two plays later, Marshall picked off quarterback Matt Moore, tipping a pass that was intended for wide receiver Kevin McMahan and coming down with it before heading upfield ...


Richard Marshall and Kevin McMahan got airborne, but only one came down with the football. (PHOTO: ANDREW MASON / PANTHERS.COM)

... But it wasn't all smiles and sunshine for Marshall. During that same one-on-one period, he was whistled by side judge Rick Patterson for illegal contact when he impeded wide receiver Ryne Robinson as he tried to head upfield. One play later, wide receiver Jason Carter lobbied back judge Bob Lawing for a similar call on Dante Wesley, but to no avail ...


NFL officials are on hand to offer guidance and pointers to Panthers, reminding them of what is and is not a penalty. (PHOTO: ANDREW MASON / PANTHERS.COM)

... The point of emphasis during special-teams work was on punt returns and protection. Robinson, Kenneth Moore and Larry Beavers once again fielded Jason Baker's punts ...

... During the team periods, the Panthers emphasized red-zone work, which produced some of the most crisp and physical play of camp to date. But Fox does not yet know if the team will have advanced to the point where they have full-contact, game-condition periods of practice on Saturday at Fan Fest in Charlotte. "We'll talk about that as we go; we've not made a decision either way," he said. (It depends on) where we think our football team is. We are definitely practicing but we haven't reached that decision yet.

... One of the standouts of the team period was linebacker Jeremy Leman broke up consecutive passes across the middle, first swatting a Josh McCown pass out of Steve Smith's grasp and then knocking away a Hunter Cantwell pass intended for Dante Rosario ...

... Defensive tackle Nick Hayden was particularly disruptive during the team periods, often penetrating to defuse run plays and once batting down a Jake Delhomme pass, as shown in the picture leading off this story.


Nick Hayden bats down a Delhomme pass. (PHOTO: ANDREW MASON / PANTHERS.COM)


It's back to the two-a-day schedule, with practices at 9:10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. EDT on Friday. The Panthers then head back up Interstate 85 for their Fan Fest practice session Saturday at 11 a.m. at Bank of America Stadium.