@crackcorn34 Has Donte Jackson done enough to earn the starting corner job after the loss of Cockrell? Or are they thinking of bringing in someone else? #GrillBill #Panthers #KeepPounding
With one week of training camp down and five weeks to go before the regular season, no, Jackson hasn’t done “enough” yet. But he’s getting there.
My guess is in Week 1, he’ll start across from James Bradberry, and when the Cowboys spread it out, Jackson will slide inside while Kevon Seymour comes in to play the outside. You need to put your best athletes on the field, and Jackson and Seymour can both run better than the Panthers’ other corner options.
To be clear, Ross Cockrell’s injury doesn’t change much lineup-wise. He was the fourth corner, the third option across from Bradberry and a backup nickel. His loss will be more significant in the film room and locker room.
Let’s also be clear that it’s August 3 and a great free agent option isn't just at home sitting on his couch – no matter how much you’ve heard of his name.
Which leads to …
Email from Brett: What are the biggest holes you think can be filled before the start of the season? Depth at OL, safety, DBs, or does Marty Hurney have to work with what he has?
Who you see now is who you get for the next month. The best opportunity to add legit help will come after final cuts.
Despite the concerns – some justified – fans have in the secondary, the biggest worry the Panthers must have is on the offensive line.
Daryl Williams’ injury was a brutal blow to a position that, along with quarterback, has the least depth across the league. With Taylor Moton now needing to play right tackle, that takes away Carolina’s best swing tackle and one of the top options at left guard. So depth is already dangerously thin on the line. But again, there isn't much the Panthers can do right now aside from trying to develop some guys while waiting for cuts.
@kKostyy Who is most likely winning the safety jobs? Any competition left at LG or is Amini a foregone conclusion?
Mike Adams is locked in at strong safety. Da’Norris Searcy has had a leg up at free, but Rashaan Gaulden has seen a lot of snaps with the starters and is rising quickly for someone who didn’t play the position much in college.
Like many, I didn’t think Amini Silatolu would hold onto the left guard job. Taking Moton out of the competition changes that. Still, someone like undrafted rookie Brendan Mahon could eventually emerge there, even if it’s not by Week 1. And guys like Tyler Larsen and Greg Van Roten are still in the running.
Website submission from Ronnie in Lancaster, PA: Are there any questions you get that you are just tired of hearing? Other than the all-black uniform coming back because we won't stop asking until it does.
“Are you married?”
@robbii2000 How’s cam newton looked so far, first time throwing the ball completely healthy in camp since two years ago.
Coaches are pleased, mostly with Newton's decision-making. He’s doing a great job taking those “layups” they’ve desperately tried to convince him to take over the past few years. Most notably, he seems to be willing to dump off to Christian McCaffrey much quicker than last year.
Newton’s vertical game hasn't been as notable. Whether it’s due to iffy accuracy or work-in-progress timing with additions like Torrey Smith and DJ Moore, Newton’s misfired deep way more often than not.
@Pabloo5347 Do you think we're content with the QB's we have now or do you think we'll trade for or add another QB? Possibly Bridgewater?
They’re content – for now.
It’s nearly impossible to get a good read on those guys against a defense that isn’t sending a proper pass rush. So the real tests for Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke will come in the preseason. And if neither do a good enough job, that's when the Panthers may have to go another route.
@jrod592 How is Funch doing during this camp?
He’s been – fine.
It seems like Devin Funchess has had multiple passes batted away by defenders nearly every practice, and he hasn’t made a single ‘wow’ play yet. I’m not sure how much that matters, though.
A couple of years back Funchess was camp’s runaway “MVP” on offense. He then caught only 23 passes in his second season. I’m willing to bet one week of a somewhat lackluster training camp won’t necessarily translate into a similar performance during the regular year.
Website submission from Benjamin in Edenton, NC: Hey Bill, I work in Iraq supporting our awesome military out here. What's it take to get a Panthers flag out here to fly?
We’re on it – check your email. And thank you for your service.
Website submission from Eric in Amherst, VA: What do you think about the Panthers going to the Super Bowl this season?
That sounds fun. People around here would probably be pretty excited about that.
Website submission from Conrad in Tripoli, Iowa: Have there been any surprises on the defensive line so far in camp?
Well, if we want to trust Eric Washington – which we probably should – he told Max Henson this about Marquis Haynes:
“Am I surprised? Yes. He’s been the exception.” Washington said of the Panthers’ slightly built fourth-round pick.
So that's welcome news.
Other than that, they’re extremely excited about defensive tackle Dontari Poe. The biggest player on the roster has displayed the devastating power and uncanny quickness the Panthers banked on getting when they signed him back in March.
Website submission from Zack in Wilmington, NC: Will Cockrell's injury have any impact on the comp pick formula next year?
Players on injured reserve count just as much as guys who start all 16 games, so he’ll still qualify as an addition.
@dmsteel90 Drank any good beers recently?
Here's a Spartanburg secret: The best place to find high-quality beers is at the Hot Spot gas station on East Henry Street. Seriously.
The best thing I’ve picked up from there during camp has been Bound By Time, an IPA from the folks at Edmund’s Oast in Charleston.
@JATaunton What’s the schedule for camp confidential episodes?
There are three more episodes set to drop. They'll debut over the next three Saturdays (check your local listings for Panthers TV).
And if you missed the season premiere: