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Carolina Panthers

Foxhole: Tank in middle of defense

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

On who did not practice: The only new additions we had were Tyrell Sutton (calf) and Charly Martin (finger). Everything else is the same: Thomas Davis (knee), Charles Johnson (hamstring), Louis Leonard (knee), Jeff Otah (knee), Duke Robinson (conditioning), Steve Smith (arm), Jonathan Stewart (ankle) and Jamar Williams (hamstring). Those are all day-to-day.

On if he plans to be extra careful with running back Jonathan Stewart: Like all those guys that are on PUP (physically unable to perform), when they are ready and get cleared medically and we feel good about where they're at, then we'll get them on the field. There are no setbacks or anything. They all had offseason surgeries or things they had worked on. They are on schedule, and we'll make sure they're healthy before we put them back on the field.

On if he expects the players on PUP, other than linebacker Thomas Davis and wide receiver Steve Smith, to practice before training camp ends: My guess is sometime before we leave Spartanburg. But again, I hate putting timeframes on it, because everybody wonders if there are setbacks or what not. They'll all be day-to-day, and when they're well they'll be out here.

On if guard Duke Robinson has to pass a conditioning test before he can practice: No. We're being precautionary there with some weight and conditioning. When we feel he meets those, then he'll be out here.

On if it is disappointing that Robinson did not report to camp in shape: We've had guys that didn't make weight to get in camp many times. I don't know that it necessarily defines what kind of player they'll be or what kind of season they'll have, but right now he's got a little work to do.


On defensive tackle Tank Tyler: He's coming along. He's worked very hard this offseason to get healthy. I liked the way he came back from our little break before we came to camp. He's a new player to us to some degree. He was injured a year ago like Louis Leonard and some of those guys that we were going to lean on. But unfortunately they injured. So he's still getting acclimated to what we're doing, and we think he's an important piece.

On how important of a piece Tyler could be to the defense: I always tell these guys, "I don't make the evaluations. You do." So a lot of it will be based on his performance, and we've still got a long way to go.

On if wide receiver Kenny Moore working with the first team is a testament to his progress, experience or both: He's earned it, so a combination of all of the above. We've got a lot of competition at that position, and we've got a lot of young people that are learning, and we'll just evaluate that practice-by-practice.

On cornerback Chris Gamble: He's a good football player and he's an integral part of our defense. We were in the top 10 in pass defense a year ago, and he was a big part of that. He, Richard Marshall, Captain Munnerlyn - the cornerback position is pretty much intact. We were able to stay that way through the offseason. I just look to him to continue to grow and get better.

On rookie defensive end Greg Hardy: He has a lot of the tools necessary to play defensive end in this league at a high level. So far, he's not disappointed us. He's learned the defense pretty well in a short amount of time. He's non-stop. He's in great condition and he's got good skills, so, hopefully, we can turn that in to being a heck of a football player.

On how rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen has done in his first three practices: He's doing good. I think all of the quarterbacks are progressing pretty well. We've got youth there, and all of the reps here are going to be real critical to their development. Right now through three practices it's hard to predict, but they look good and they're working hard.

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