CHARLOTTE – The knee injury suffered by weakside linebacker Thomas Davis during OTAs in June prompted the Panthers to move Jon Beason out of his middle linebacker spot in the base defense.
Beason is lining up in Davis' weakside spot in the base defense, but he considers himself to still be the man in the middle in the Panthers' other packages.
"More or less, I'm still the 'Mike' in four out of the five packages," Beason said. "It's not that big of a transition."
When the Panthers add a fifth defensive back for their nickel package, middle linebacker Dan Connor leaves the lineup, leaving Beason and James Anderson on the field. In the dime package, with six defensive backs, Beason is the lone linebacker.
Beason said he's also in the middle for the Panthers' goal-line package as well as their 30 defense, a variation of the nickel that features three defensive linemen and three linebackers.
Beason said he's pleased by the progress made by Connor in the middle.
"Dan's doing great," Beason said. "He's out there having fun, flying around and making plays. He's leading.
"I feel real comfortable about what's going on out there."
DOWN TO 79: Offensive tackle Kirk Barton, claimed off waivers from the Denver Broncos on Tuesday, won't be joining the team.
"I don't believe he's coming. I think he's retired from football," head coach John Fox said. "So, right now we're one short."
The Panthers may decide to stay that way. By Tuesday, they're required to trim the roster down to 75 players.
The Panthers would have been the seventh NFL team for Barton since he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 draft by the Chicago Bears.
STARTING TO GET INTERESTING: Fox said it could be a while before he settles on his starters.
"Probably game week for the New York Giants – maybe not even then," he said.
On offense, a starting spot at wide receiver as well as at right guard appears to still be up for grabs, while plenty of roster-related decisions loom on the defensive line and in the secondary.
"I think we've got a lot of good options. I think that's a positive," Fox said. "I'm not concerned – just getting everybody out there better is the main objective right now."