Skip to main content
Carolina Panthers

Notebook: Frank Reich "excited" about roster, though there's more work to do

Frank Reich

CHARLOTTE – The Panthers reached their initial 53-man roster by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

But it's called initial for a reason, and it had already changed 24 hours later.

The team added three new players from the waiver wire at key depth positions, bringing in former Saints guard Calvin Throckmorton, former Jets linebacker Claudin Cherelus, and former 49ers cornerback D'Shawn Jamison. They had to make three corresponding moves, waiving quarterback Matt Corral, wide receiver Derek Wright, and linebacker Chandler Wooten to get back to 53.

"Obviously a lot of work done in the last two days," Reich said after practice Wednesday. "As we've said a couple of times, (it's) a tough time of the year. Excited about the team we're putting together, still a little bit of work left to do but I'm sure we'll see some of these guys back."

They already brought back 11 players to the practice squad, including preseason contributors in defensive lineman Raequan Williams, running back Spencer Brown, and outside linebacker Eku Leota, among others.

They have five more spots to fill to reach the 16-man practice squad limit, and Reich said he and general manager Scott Fitterer are looking to "clean everything up" Thursday with the completion of that practice squad roster.

But as for the tough decisions made Tuesday, Wednesday, and the rest of the week, Reich said there's an understanding across the board that the motivation is to build for Week 1.

"Everybody understands that the sole motivation is to do what's best for the team," Reich said. "We're trying to get as many players on the roster and in that locker room – on the 53 and on the practice squad – as we can (to) help us win this year. Those are tough decisions."

– Reich expressed confidence in the five tight ends they're carrying on the 53-man roster. The group includes new addition Hayden Hurst, returning players Ian Thomas, Tommy Tremble, and Stephen Sullivan, and dedicated special teams contributor Giovanni Ricci.

Sullivan has missed a portion of the preseason with injury, though Reich has continuously repeated his faith in the group as a whole.

"This whole offseason and training camp, I keep telling those guys – whenever I talk to the tight ends, I've said, 'Listen, guys, I mean, this is a good room; the way you guys complement each other,'" Reich said. "We may make a move here, but I think we're going to try it. I think we'll end up trying to keep these guys around. We really like this room."

– Bryce Young met with reporters as the rookie quarterback's first game week looms just after the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

He said he definitely felt a "sense of excitement," but that he channels that energy into making the last few days of this week and his work next week productive. 

"It's real, everything counts, the regular season, and this is all new for me being a rookie, so I'm definitely excited," Young said. "But again, you kind of have to funnel that excitement into something productive. And for me, I try to push that into the energy and the experience of the day-to-day, of going out and practicing and giving my all –in the meeting room, in the practice room, the film room and all that, and kind of harnessing that energy and (making it productive). Especially this far out, that's all you can do for it. It's definitely exciting, for sure. But there's still a long way to go, a lot of preparation from our side. So that's really where the focus is right now."

– New wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette made his practice field debut in No. 11 after he was acquired via trade late Monday. 

After receiving glowing reviews from fellow wideout Adam Thielen, who played with him at Minnesota, the pass-catcher and return man performed well in his first practice, per Reich.

"(He) looked good," Reich said. "Fielded the ball well, caught it well. You can see the route runner in him. You could see the instincts that he has. Excited to get to know him more."

View TopCat photos from the final preseason matchup versus the Detroit Lions

Related Content