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Fozzy Whittaker training camp Q&A

Posted Jul 30, 2017

The veteran running back has an interesting to-do list for the Panthers' first training camp off day.

On how he plans on spending his off day: “With the family. I’m going back to Charlotte. I’m going to make sure I’m staying safe on the road, but go back to Charlotte to see my wife and two kids. She’s having a tough time handling the two youngsters by herself. Just last night she told me about our three-year-old son marking on the walls with a pen and on the couch. So I gotta go home and I guess clean the walls and the couch.”

On the first week: “First week’s been great, man. First three days of pads have gone well. First two days without pads, man I think we’re getting off to a great start. Seeing the way that the team is coming together, you know, bouncing off of each other’s energy. Offense, defense, special teams feeding off of each other, and then just the level of competition across the board. Just seeing the way we’re all competing and just having fun with each other and just getting each other better. I think we’re off to a great start.”

On how he feels about this year’s team: “I think we’re going to be better for sure. We’re working towards being a better team. Our main focus is to win the NFC South. We’re already putting these five practices in play so we can be dominate, be a factor in the NFC South. Hopefully with everything that’s gone on last year, we’ve learned from it, become a better team, be a more mature team and get back to being what we’re use to being and playing Carolina Panther football.”

On how old Jonathan Stewart seems: “Man, that’s a tricky question because he doesn’t look thirty, he doesn’t play as if he’s a thirty year old, but you can tell just the amount of experience that he has. He’s been in the league and he knows quite a few things. I learn from him each and everyday; on how to be a pro in the NFL and how to be a veteran, the type of leadership he has in the running back room and amongst the team, just in the way that he carries himself in meetings, how he carries himself at practice, just the way he mentally prepares. I’m still learning from him, he’s definitely been a huge mentor in my life that has gotten me to where I am now.”

On if he spent all day everyday in the weight room could he look like Stewart: “Not even close, not even close man. That’s something that God blessed him with, a physical specimen. That’s all I can say. There’s nobody I feel like that I’ve seen in my life that has the type of stature, the size, the speed, the strength, the power, just the looks that he has, other than Cam, as far as just being the tall just everything. But those two guys, seeing them in the backfield together, it’s so cool to be able to play next to them because they are specimen. You don’t see people like that often.”

On what he’s seen of Cam Newton’s arm strength: “To me, you wouldn’t have even known that he had surgery in the offseason and that he’s still going through the recovery process. He’s looking accurate. He can still throw the deep ball, everything’s looking good from a perspective of throwing. Running the ball he looks great. Everything he’s doing, he looks like himself. You would’ve never known he was coming off of a shoulder injury.”

On the differences amongst you and the other running backs: “I think a good word to maybe describe us all, as a unit would be: versatility. Just in the way you said, everybody has their own strengths, and you know, that’s what we’re all here for, is to play to our strengths. Whenever we get into the game, it’s harder for the defense to prepare for multiple people that have different types of strength. The versatility that out offense will be able to have, especially when we have two or three of the same people on the field, it makes it harder for them to prepare. I think the versatility that the offensive unit and the running back room has is going to be beneficial to us.”

On his biggest strengths among the running back group: “The biggest thing for me is I’m always focusing on getting better. I’ve already learned some of the ways for instance Christian McCaffrey runs routes. X Slant, amazing. I’ve already seen that in the first couple of days in practice. I’ve already taken a couple of things from him. Just changing direction, man, I don’t know how he does it. It’s crazy the things that he does. Just seeing some of the things that he do and hopefully try to implement that into my game just a little bit to try help make me a better player, and help the team in any way possible as well as on special teams. I know that that is a third of the game for us, and it is a huge emphasis. I always want to be able to leave my mark on the field, like I said whether it’s offensively or on special teams.”

On a single play from McCaffrey that stood out: “It’s been multiple. I can’t pinpoint just one. As soon as he took the field for the first time in mini-camp I knew that he was a special player. Just seeing the way he did everything and now coming into training camp, seeing him live and in action every single day, day in and day out, you know that he’s a special player. I can’t wait to see him on game day so he can show everybody else what he can do.”

On how rare it is to see a running back with McCaffrey’s route tree: “I think it’s extremely rare. I feel like there’s only a few backs in the league, veterans and young guys, who can run a complex route tree like the ones Christian McCaffrey is going to be doing. I think that adds to our versatility on offense, which is what I was speaking of earlier. Just being able to have a dynamic guy out there makes it harder for the defense to prepare for us in more than one way. It’s a select few that can run that type of route tree.”