SPARTANBURG – This is Eric Reid's second season with the Panthers, but it's his first go-round in Spartanburg.
As you might recall, Reid was a man without a team this time last year.
"This reminds me of college. Hot and humid," Reid said of his first impressions of camp life at Wofford. "I imagine I'll be much farther ahead at the start of the season this year.
"Last year I came in on the bye week and had to learn the playbook in a week."
Reid was literally thrown into the mix. Now he's had time to fully integrate, and it shows. He appears more at ease with his teammates and coaches.
And now that he's got a firm grasp of the defense and his role in it, he's able to be more vocal in the secondary. That's needed with so much youth playing alongside him.
"I've seen a lot. I can anticipate certain things, I can get a feel for things," Reid said. "Luke (Kuechly) does it as well. If we see something we think is going to happen, we'll alert it pre-snap and jump on it. If not, you play your technique.
"But I've taken on that role this year, being more vocal in the secondary and making sure we're making the right checks."
Reid's been focused on getting things organized in the secondary, but he's obviously in tune with what's going on in front of him. Carolina's front seven was revamped this offseason, with veterans like Gerald McCoy and Bruce Irvin coming in along with dynamic rookies Brian Burns and Christian Miller.
Reid, who has a better vantage point than anyone, likes what he sees.
"All the good football teams that I've been on have had dominant line play. We look like we have the potential to have a dominant defensive front," Reid said. "It changes the game. It gets the quarterback off rhythm, it makes him throw balls he doesn't want to throw because he doesn't want to get sacked. That allows us in the secondary to break on the ball sooner."
With this front seven, Reid knows plays will be there for him. He expects to take full advantage, and then some.
"I want to be the best safety in the league," he said.
View photos as the Panthers hit the lower practice fields for the first time.