Skip to main content

Notebook: Coaching staff, front office drew key free agents here

Josey Jewell

CHARLOTTE—New places and familiar faces.

That's what both linebacker Josey Jewell and defensive back Dane Jackson found in free agency, and largely what led them to the Carolina Panthers.

For Jewell, moving to Charlotte was a chance to join forces again with Ejiro Evero and Pete Hansen.

"They are definitely big to me coming here and playing. I really enjoyed my time with them even though it was just a year, just the way they coach the game," Jewell said Wednesday, meeting with local media for the first time since signing with the Panthers.

The defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (respectively) both held the same position with the Denver Broncos in 2022. Jewell, who spent his previous six years in Denver, had his best season under Evero and Hansen. That year, Jewell finished with 128 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and recoveries, and four passes defended.

He credits much of that success to Evero and Hansen.

"They allow you to play the game and just go out there and flow and play it to its true value…and that's really what brought me here."

Dane Jackson, Josey Jewell

Jackson's arrival in Charlotte was a chance to play again for general manager Dan Morgan. The Panthers GM served as the Buffalo Bills director of player personnel from 2018-2020, and had a huge hand in drafting Jackson in the seventh round of the 2020 draft. As such, Jackson credits a lot of his career to Morgan.

"I would like to thank him for a lot, you know, just for giving me a chance," Jackson said Wednesday. "He was a big advocate coming out for me when he was in Buffalo and, just getting me on the team and believing and trusting in me."

Jackson felt the same support during free agency, as Morgan and Jackson's agent talked about the possibility to reuniting the duo.

"He believed in me," Jackson shared. "I got to tip my hat off to him and give him a lot of thanks for that."

While Jackson didn't personally know Jaycee Horn before arriving at Bank of America Stadium for the offseason work, he was familiar with Horn's game. That familiarity has led Jackson to latch himself onto Horn the past couple of weeks, soaking up as much as he can.

"One of the best corners in the game, in my opinion," Jackson said of Horn. "Before I got here, I was watching a lot of tape and I'm actually sitting behind him in meetings right now, just picking his brain. I'm a year older than him, but that don't mean nothing; I mean, he's a great, one of the best corners so I could learn a lot from him. Just picking his brain on what he does with his comfort zone on the field and all that."

Defensive stars have faith in Bryce Young

A'Shawn Robinson didn't play at Alabama with quarterback Bryce Young (they missed each other by five years) but Robinson has kept a close eye on his fellow Nick Saban disciple over the years.

While at Alabama, the now retired Saban instilled a mindset that helped put 57 players on opening Week 1 rosters in the NFL, last season alone.

"Everything is about being a pro, you being a professional," Robinson said Wednesday of Saban's philosophy. "You don't do anything to be half way; do it to be great."

Despite Young's 2-14 record as a starter his rookie season, Robinson sees this attitude mirrored in his young passer.

"The record didn't reflect his personality," Robinson declared. "It didn't go the way he wanted to, but that's OK. Everything in this game does not go. There is only one winner every year. Everyone else is losers…there's only one Super Bowl team.

"So, I think his tangibles of having the dog in him, wanting to win, wanting to do things the right way. I see it in everything and talking to him and listening to everybody. It's dope to understand, to have a quarterback that's young and willing to put all the work in to be great, to become whatever he wants to become and have the potential to become whatever he wants to become because he's willing to put the work in."

Iowa icons showing out

Speaking of college stars, Jewell took a moment on Wednesday to give Caitlin Clark her flowers. The former Iowa basketball star was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft this week, going to the Indiana Fever. The selection came after Clark led the Hawkeyes to back-to-back National Championship appearances, and became the NCAA Division 1 all-time scoring leader, breaking Pistol Pete Maravich's record that stood for over 50 years.

As a former Iowa alum himself, Jewell made a point to attend a game this season with his family, giving his daughter a chance to meet a role model.

"We ended up going to a couple of games with my wife and my two kids and then my daughter ended up getting a picture with her after one of the games," Jewell shared, "which is phenomenal for her to be able to come and find us and be able to do that and just kind of shake her hand and tell her, you know, how much we appreciate it.

"Just a great person, down to earth, which is, it's hard to believe sometimes when you're that big, and that big a stage; so great person, great phenomenal player, enjoyed watching her at Iowa for sure."

View photos from the weight room as the Panthers' players went through their second week of voluntary offseason workouts on April 15, 2024.

Related Content