General manager Marty Hurney met with the media Wednesday afternoon, a day before the Panthers' first training camp practice.
Opening statement: A couple of roster related things, we released Drew Iddings, the defensive tackle. We're working on signing a tight end for numbers. Guys who did not pass their physical: Julius Peppers and Fred Ross, active PUP off-season surgery, Chris Manhertz for the Jones fracture, Brian Cox did a high ankle sprain the last practice in mini camp and Curtis Samuel, who came in with his ankle, got some soreness from working out over the last few weeks and we're going to put him, technically its active non-football injury but it's essentially active PUP and we're just being cautious.
On Peppers, if his injury is shoulder related: Yeah. The off-season surgery, and then Fred.
On any concern with the Peppers injury: No, I think with all these guys, it's just, this is the category you put them in to give them time and, you know when they are ready they will be passed and activated and practice.
On if there are only three players on the PUP list: It's four guys on PUP, so its Peppers and Ross and Manhertz and Cox and Curtis Samuel's is essentially PUP, but the technical phrase will be active non-football injury because it was the soreness that came from working out.
On if Curtis Samuel's injury is a minor speed bump: It's just being cautious and, you know we were very impressed with the way he came back and what he showed during OTAs and minicamp, but you just want to, we knew coming in, we wanted to be careful and we wanted to give him days off and right now with some soreness, we just want to be cautious and put him on this list and let him work with the trainers. When he's ready, we will get him back out there.
On if Samuel's soreness is from the last few weeks: Yeah it's just from the last, what he was doing. He was doing everything he could to get ready.
On if Luke Kuechly is ready to go: Luke is passed and again, with some of these guys you will see is managing them through practice but he's passed and will be ready to go.
On what the injury to Fred Ross was: Fred was hip surgery. Off-season hip surgery.
On if that is what he had last season: Two years ago. Two years ago he had it in college and then he had it, surgery again this offseason. Last season in camp it was an ankle sprain and a concussion.
On Cam Newton's offseason, new weapons and health:His health, compared to a year ago, it's great. I mean he's had OTAs, he had full minicamp. I thought you saw a lot of energy out of our offense, out of our whole team in OTAs and minicamp. Things like this going into camp, you just don't know. You want to see it come together. We are very optimistic. I think everybody is excited about some of the new players and the young players we brought in on both sides of the ball. We have three new coordinators essentially, so there a lot of new parts and it's going to be important to see how we come together and it gels. But I think the feeling coming out of OTA's, coming out of minicamp, everybody is excited. I was excited to get down here and get going and see some pads and let guys compete because I think we have a lot of competition at a lot of spots.
On the competition for the left guard position: We have three or four guys that I think can compete for that starting job and it's going to be, we're going to rotate those guys. We're going to see them all with the first unit. I think we feel good about the guys that are competing for it, but there's good depth there and I think we have good depth on the offensive line, so ideally that's what you do. You let competition play out and see who wins that job, but I think we have at least three or four guys that are going to compete for that starting left guard job.
On an ideal time to make the left guard decision: Normally, you say going into the third preseason game. That's the game you play your first team into the third quarter but I don't think you put timetables on things like that. When the answer is there, we will know it.
On if there is any new information with the Vernon Butler allegations: We're gathering, we're still in the process of gathering information and that's where we are.
On if Hurney has spent much time with David Tepper and what his vision is: Yes. I've had several meetings. We talk, you know, on a very regular basis and I think everybody's got the same vision. It's to come in and win football games and with a goal of winning the super bowl.
On the secondary: I think you look at the corner spot and I think we've got good competition there. You've got James Bradberry and Kevon Seymour and Captain [Munnerlyn] coming back from last year. You have Ross Cockrell who has been a real steady influence all OTAs and minicamp. He's a guy who comes in and does everything right. Then you have Donte Jackson who will bring another element of speed and electric play to us. I think we have real good competition at the corner spot. At safety, Mike Adams, after a year here under the system, I think he should improve. Da'Norris Searcy brings another veteran to the mix. Then you have Rashaan Gaulden, our third round draft pick, who as OTAs and minicamp went on you could see him improve and get more comfortable with the safety position. We're hoping to see him pick up where he left off. We have a bunch of other young guys who are going to compete. That's the theme right now, we have a lot of competition at a number of spots, which is what you strive for in the offseason.
On Devin Funchess and contract year: It's a continue development year. Last year after we made the trade with Kelvin he got moved over to X. We've made some changes in that wide receiver room. We brought in a couple guys, Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright, who really have experience and have leadership, and I think can be a positive effect on the entire room. Then obviously we've added young guys like DJ Moore, we've got Curtis [Samuel], Damiere Byrd, we've talked about the increased speed at that position. Really those guys all play off each other because when you can stretch the field you can open other things up. We hope that the increased talent level at that position helps all of them, including Devin. Devin really made huge strides last year and he hopes to continue to do the same this year.
On inflated wide receiver market and how it affects Devin:You want to see a guy put back-to-back years together, and he was in a unique position where he was playing the Z, and really I think his talent level fits the X position more. Better for him, better for us. He got moved there the second half of the year, and I think he thrived with it. You want to see him continue to do that.
On when he thinks Julius Peppers will be cleared:It's hard to put timetables. He's a guy that you know is going to be there, when he's ready he's ready, with all those guys. Ryan Vermillion and Mark Shermansky, our trainers are going to tell us when they're ready to go and when they clear them.
On if Julius had a set-back during rehab:Julius is fine. You want to be cautious. Listen, you know what Pep's going to bring. I don't think you worry a whole lot about Julius Peppers.
On injured players not being ready by the start of the season: We're going to have to see how Manhertz comes along. It's hard to sit and speculate. I learned 30 years ago from Joe Gibbs, he just didn't put time tables on guys because you never know. They're going to do everything they can every day to get ready and they'll be back as soon as they can be back.
On signing a tight end: You hope anyone you bring in competes, but we're looking for a guy that can come in and take reps as the fourth or fifth tight end right now. That's the name of the game. You come in and if you produce, do well on the reps you get, then you get more reps. Ian Thomas has done very well so far in OTAs and minicamp. He's a young guy. We said that it's going to take some time, but he's got a lot of physical tools. I think he's got a real passion for the game and his approach has been very good, and again he's one of the young guys that we've very optimistic about. Now it's time to put on the pads and compete and see what you've got.
On if he's met with Vernon: We've talked to Vernon, but right now we're just gathering information.