Skip to main content

Foxhole: Position flexibility key

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

On injuries: We got Chris Gamble back this afternoon; he practiced. Travelle Wharton's back tightened up a little bit; he made it through part of practice; it's something we're working through. Thomas Davis (PUP - knee), Aaron Francisco (hamstring), Mike Goodson (ankle), Trent Guy (hamstring), Nick Hayden (oblique), Ed Johnson (sick), Charly Martin (finger), Eric Moore (hamstring), Jeff Otah (PUP - knee), Jordan Senn (shoulder), Steve Smith (PUP - arm), Jonathan Stewart (PUP - foot), Tyrell Sutton (calf), Hilee Taylor (knee) and Garry Williams (shoulder).

On how quarterback Hunter Cantwell has looked: Good. Hunter has got good size; he's got good arm strength. I think he's getting more acclimated in our offensive system. I've been impressed with him. We've got to keep bringing guys along, put them in as many game-like situations as we can and then play the games.

On Cantwell's statement that he needs to do more because of the team's investment in rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen: We don't look at that. We don't look at what guys make. We just evaluate how they play. We've had guys not make a lot and play good and have guys make a lot and not play good. As coaches, we don't look at that and you don't have that as part of the evaluation. The best man wins, so we put them in competitive situations and whoever plays the best plays.


On if he prefers having offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz play tackle or guard: Part of being a football player is having flexibility, and in the line that is really key because typically you only go into a game with seven linemen dressed. So you need position flexibility, even on game day, once the regular season starts. He's capable of playing both spots.

On how much starting the final three games last season helped Schwartz: There is no substitute for experience, so I thought it was no different than Matt Moore's five games. I think all those live situations - game-like conditions, the pressures there and executing your job under pressure - those are all real important experiences.

On how linebacker Dan Connor is progressing: Very good. He's played a lot of football for us but he hasn't started a bunch. He's came off a knee (injury) a year ago. Sometimes it takes a year to get over that. So I see a little bit quicker, more experienced, solid football player now than this time a year ago.

On if Connor's familiarity with playing middle linebacker in college affected his decision to put him at the Mike when Thomas Davis was injured: All that went into play. Again, we've still got a lot of work to do, so things can change even again. But right now that's the move we made, and he's made good progress at that position.

On how important it is for Jon Beason, who is calling the defensive plays in the huddle, and Connor, who is making the checks at the line of scrimmage, to communicate: That's not really as big of a deal as people make. They are both smart guys. They can both communicate in the defense, no matter which linebacker. The same thing at the safety position. We've got a younger safety back there than a year ago. Chris Harris was kind of that guy. Our other guys have been back there before, and now they've just got a new job as far as taking the leadership role with some of the calls.

On rookie cornerback Robert McClain: That kid has really come on. I think both of those young corners, R.J. Stanford and Robert McClain, are good gets and I see them getting better every day.

On wide receiver Wallace Wright: I knew what we were getting in a special teams player and the kind of football character he has. That was pretty well documented and was something we definitely wanted. I've been pleasantly surprised by the progress he's made as a receiver - his route running, he's definitely a tenacious blocker and his pass receiving skills definitely have impressed me.

On his impressions of Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison: My experience is he's a smart guy. He's got good people skills. I think he's been good for the organization and I've been impressed with his leadership style.

Related Content