Foxhole: Rookies progressing

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

On the temperature: A hundred and something. It was like 108.

On why defensive tackle Ed Johnson was taken off the field: He got a little heat sickness. We always err on the side of caution.

On if he cut practice short because of the heat: No. We were scheduled to be done at five o'clock, so maybe by a couple minutes, but not too much.

On the progress of rookie wide receiver Brandon LaFell: Like I've said before, he looks like he belongs. He's got good size and speed. I think he's got good football character and intelligence. Now, it's transferring that to game conditions, and we'll get our first opportunity for that Thursday night.

On LaFell working with the first team: Definitely because he's earned it. We've had him for 20 practices in the offseason and 18 (training camp) practices now, so he's earned everything he's gotten. With Steve Smith and Trent Guy being out, that has increased everybody's reps. So far from what I've seen guys are taking full advantage of it.

On if he has noticed rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen looking more comfortable and playing with more confidence recently: It's hard for me to evaluate now without seeing him in games. There is another guy that I've not seen at the NFL level play in a game of any kind. Of course, I watch practice; we evaluate practice. I've seen a steady improvement with him. I'm sure there is a better comfort zone. I liken it to learning a foreign language. He knows how to communicate better. I'm sure he feels more comfortable, and when you kind of understand it you can do it faster.

On how anxious he is to see all the rookies play in a game: I'm real excited. There's a bunch of guys I haven't seen play before, and I think the staff, myself and even their teammates are excited to see them play.

On the progress of this year's draft class: Without playing any games yet, that's hard to really measure, but I like the way they go about their business. They're not afraid to work hard and they're not afraid to do it enthusiastically.

On how the linebacking corps has looked since inserting Dan Connor at middle linebacker and moving Jon Beason to weakside linebacker: Jon has looked very good at Will linebacker. I'm not so sure Jon wouldn't look good at any of the linebacker positions you put him at. That's not as big of a question. We're always trying to get better at every spot. I'm anxious to see some of those other guys in game conditions.

On if he is set a with James Anderson on the strongside, Connor in the middle and Beason at weakside as the starting linebackers: I'm set with it for right now. Things are always changing. We'll go into the game with that in mind and adjust from there - see who flashes at us. It gives us one more chance to evaluate them in game conditions and go from there.

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