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Foxhole: Big Cat at practice


Comments from Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox following the team's morning training camp practice.

On Carolina Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson being at practice: It's always good to have Mr. Richardson out. I think he looked good. It's always a boost for the players and coaches to see him out here.

On what Richardson said to the team before practice: Some things are sacred, and he had some things to say. I won't go into detail about that, but it was very inspiring.

On how the team practiced after having its first day off since training camp began: Good. I think they came back fresh. Right now we're in that mode where you've got to transfer the things from small drills, the techniques and fundamentals, to 11-on-11 football. I thought we had a little taste of that on Saturday, and we had a little taste of it today in a goal-line situation. Those are things that I think we've just got to continue this week as we prepare for our preseason opener.

On defensive line coach Brian Baker: He's a good, fundamental teacher and he's done a good job. Like I've said time and time again, sometimes change is good. You've got a different voice, different person, different approach. Right now the guys are responding and doing a good job.

On Baker's enthusiasm and the way he gets after players: People usually live up or down to expectations, and if you expect a lot, you get a lot.

On linebacker Dan Connor returning from last year's season-ending knee injury: He was a guy that showed really well early in camp. Unfortunately, he got injured early on. Last preseason we thought he was a guy that we thought showed a lot early on and he's done a great job rehabbing. That's a very hard road, and it takes tough people to do it. He's worked very hard and doing very well.

On if he has a different practice plan for hot days like today: The league keeps us pretty educated; our medical people keep us pretty educated on how to combat heat sickness. We have a halftime, just like we do in a game, and put them under a tent. We get them plenty of fluids throughout practice. Today we timed it out pretty good. It's not the heat of the day this morning and won't be the heat of the day at 6:30 tonight. Right now, I think the forecast is today is about the hottest day of the week. Tomorrow we go only once, albeit three o'clock in the afternoon. But one time is usually easier to do than twice, so I think we've got a pretty good plan for it.

On injury updates: Day-to-day. Nothing new.

On signing defensive tackle George Hypolite to take Maake Kemoeatu's roster spot: Our scouting department, we've got a ready list at all positions. He was next up on the hit parade, he's here and we're getting to know him daily.

On if the Panthers are interested in defensive lineman Shaun Smith, who was recently released by Cleveland: Everybody at this point, if we think they can help us. It's still early on. I'm not sure guys become available at this point, but we're always looking. If our scouting department thinks they upgrade us, we'll look into.

On JJ Jansen being the only long snapper in camp now following the release of Nick Sundberg last week: We liked him. He's a guy we gave up a draft pick for, so he's a guy we felt like could be the guy. Right now he hasn't done anything to make us think he can't be, and we still have a lot of work to do.

On tight end Gary Barnidge: Gary's got some good down the field speed. A young guy a year ago that got some playing time as the season wore on, in particularly late in the season. He's had a good offseason; he's worked hard. He's a year further along in our system. He's a big target that's an adequate blocker. He gives us a threat down the field. I like what I've seen from him to this point with still a lot of preseason games to look at him in.

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