Comments from Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox following the team's final summer school practice.
On summer school ending: The guys will take a break and get away from it mentally but not completely physically. Of course, try to maintain what we've developed here in the offseason. The guys went about their business in a professional manner, and I look forward to forming back up again July 28 in Spartanburg.
On how the four weeks of summer school went: I thought it was excellent. The guys worked hard in the offseason conditioning, and we had great participation in the minicamp as well as the OTAs (organized training activities). These guys are willing to work, and they'll be as good as they work to be.
On if summer school was different because of all the youth on the team: It hasn't been different. Even with a veteran team, they haven't played since last January so you always need this time to form back up. But there is no question we are younger, but with that comes a lot of energy.
On if he is comfortable with the mix of veterans and young players on the roster: That's why we play the game, so we're about to find out. There is a lot of training between that time and that (regular-season) opener in New York. Again, we've got a lot of work to do, there is no doubt. We'll see how comfortable we are when we get to it.
On carrying the momentum over from summer school to training camp: Real simple – they've got to be in the best shape of their lives. Once we get to that, we get into the football drills. It's the first time that we'll be in pads. We've got to get in football shape, hitting shape. That's where you get that work done. We're in great condition right now. Everybody passed the conditioning test. Now we've got to develop some football skills.
On the progress the team made during summer school: I think in all three phases. You've got the mental aspect, you've got little techniques and skills you've got to learn. Guys had the right attitude and right work ethic to do that. I like this team's commitment and work ethic, and we'll see how we develop as we go.
On if anybody specific stood out: It's hard to single guys out, but I think as team we got better. We highlighted the passing game, and I thought we made some improvements in that area in all aspects. Now it's a matter of putting it all together in training camp.
On emphasizing the passing game during summer school: Most of you saw us play last year, and we were lacking in the passing game area. Some of that is communication; some of it is skill set; some of it is just timing among players. Those are things you work on in the offseason to try to improve on.
On players being accountable to each other between now and training camp: It's like when guys leave the stadium during the season. We all share the same jersey so we all have the same name. What you might do out there, make sure you understand the consequences can affect that name. Being accountable and dependable is a part of it, and I'm sure that is what he was speaking to.
On if there is hope linebacker Thomas Davis can return this season since he had surgery on his injured right knee last Saturday: I've found when it comes to injury it's hard to put deadlines on it. We'll just see and take it day-to-day. He had surgery over the weekend and he is in the recovery aspect now and we're hoping for the best.
On his upcoming trip to visit U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf: It's something that I've been wanting to do for years. I finally was able to work it into the schedule and I am going with three really good guys that I know and have admiration for. I can't think of a better way to spend a week, although it's very little to show our appreciation for what those troops are doing over there to protect us.