Comments from Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox following the team's morning mini-camp practice.
On the first mini-camp practice: I think it was very energetic. Guys were focused in the meetings and I can tell they've worked out hard this offseason. As far as the young guys go, they're learning one step at a time. But I was impressed; it was a good start.
On his goal for mini-camp: They learn a little bit more of what to do and how to do it, and we become a little bit more familiar with them and they become a little bit more familiar with us. The bulk of our team that we pick at the end of August is going to be out of this bunch. This is just the first day of the process.
On the energy on defense with new defensive coordinator Ron Meeks: Sometimes change is good. Ron Meeks is a very proven coach in this league and a very fine coach. We've got some new additions on the defensive side of the ball, and there are some changes and tweaks. Our guys are an energetic bunch anyways, and I think they've been very receptive.
On how much Meeks is bringing from Indianapolis and incorporating into Carolina's defense: In this league there aren't too many new things. It's all pretty much the same, really. If anything we started from square one. We're doing some basic things right now in this mini-camp and putting the emphasis back on technique and fundamentals, which is kind of what you do at the beginning of every year. Other than somebody that looks different up there presenting it, it's still football in the National Football League.
On if change among players and coaches is necessary every so often to mix things up: It's hard to say. We've got high-character guys in there; they are going to be receptive, I think, to anybody. But sometimes change is good. In this case, we've been here going on our eighth season, and I think it's going to happen. You have attrition on the squad and you have attrition through the coaching staff. I think that's expected.
On if change on defense was necessary based on how last season ended: We were 12-4, so that's a pretty good ending. That last loss was something that you don't want to end on. But in this league there is only one happy team at the end. No matter when you lose it's disappointing. I thought we had a good season last year and it's something we can build on this year. I don't stress offense, defense or special teams. It's a team game, and we played well enough to win 12 games.
On if second-round draft choice Sherrod Martin will start at nickel back: That's why we're competing. I don't know where the lineup is going to be yet. Obviously, we're a little bit more familiar with guys that have been with us. That's going to be up to those guys (to determine) who wins what spot. You inject new talent into a team every year, and we're just getting a little understanding of the new guys we have now.
On how second-round draft choice Everette Brown looked: Good. It's one practice, but everybody attacked it and came in ready. I liked what I saw in the first practice.
On defensive end Julius Peppers' not attending mini-camp: It's kind of what I expected. He hasn't signed his tender yet. But I know he's working out. He'll be in great shape. He's always stressed being the same guy, and I'm sure he'll be the same guy.
On when he expects Peppers to show up: I can't honestly answer that. He's got to sign his tender. But I don't think any later than training camp.
On why Peppers has not signed his tender: I couldn't tell you.