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Carolina Panthers

Camp notes: Familiarity breeds confidence


SPARTANBURG, S.C. – For once, Cam Newton is enjoying some familiarity.

"The past four years I've been in four different schemes," Newton said. "With coach Chud (offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski) staying here and our whole coaching staff staying here -- it's a big improvement."

Four years ago, he was a Florida Gator. Three years ago, he was at Blinn Junior College. Two years ago, he led the Auburn Tigers to a National Championship.

Last year was the beginning of his Panthers career. Now he can build on what he started as he enters year two in Carolina.

"You look across the league," Newton said. "(Often times) they just throw out what was taught last year and learn a whole new scheme."

Newton and his teammates have the luxury of continuity in 2012.

"It's going to help us to polish up what we did last year," Newton said, " and hopefully, we can expand."

That's what the coaching staff has in mind.

The players have become more comfortable under Chudzinski's system entering year two, but there are several new packages and intricacies added to compliment this year's roster.

And the already complex Panthers offense will enter games prepared to adjust.

"With Chud there are no (limits)," head coach Ron Rivera said. "The way he teaches, it starts with basic, simple things and from there, the sky is the limit. He's already begun to put the groundwork in. …

"You'll see the different packages, the different grouping of players that are out there. There is most certainly a plan."

LUKE CAN BE DECEIVING: Like the rest of his teammates, quarterback Cam Newton came away impressed after meeting rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly for the first time.

"Luke is a wonderful person. He's a stand-up guy," Newton said. "First looking at him, you don't think he has the type of fierce attitude on the field."


"Looks are deceiving."

Kuechly has received high praise from a number of veterans on the defensive side of the ball, and from an offensive perspective, Newton knows firsthand how disruptive Kuechly can be.

"When he's out there, he makes an impact," Newton said. "I'm having to throw some screens in the ground because his recognition already is through the roof. That's what you want to see."

Kuechly has been working at weakside (will) linebacker in training camp, though he spent the majority of his career as a middle (mike) linebacker at Boston College.

But the transition has been rather seamless for the rookie.

"The mike and the will are relatively the same," Kuechly explained. "They are both more inside, second level guys. The sam (strongside linebacker) is a little bit more on the ball. There are a couple things that are different between (the mike and will), but it's been good so far."

With pads coming on Monday night, Kuechly is eager to see how he adjusts to the increased intensity.

"I've gotten used to the speed without pads on," he said. "Now the speed is going to be different."

GROSS ON BOARD: One Pro Bowler on the Panthers offensive line – center Ryan Kalil – predicted the team would win the Super Bowl this season.

The other – left tackle Jordan Gross – said he signed off on the bold idea.

"Everybody is talking about what Kalil did in the paper," Gross said. "He actually asked me about it a month ago, and I said, 'Go for it man, I think it's a great idea.'

"There was already a lot of hype about this team and this organization, and maybe it was only at a local level. (Now) nationally people are excited about what we can do. We want that burden and we want that on our shoulders."

TUCKER RELEASED: Defensive end Jyles Tucker has been released, general manager Marty Hurney said Monday.

"He came to us and basically said that he wasn't comfortable at the weight he reported at, being too light at 228," Hurney said. "He wanted a chance to go and gain the weight back."

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