What are we seeing so far at Panthers’ training camp?
Well, we’re seeing some of the same-old, same-old. Thomas Davis is sidelined with a strained calf, although I suppose this is new since it’s not his knee. He has not played since July 29. But we’re also seeing some new, exciting players. Our new LB Luke Kuechly has been playing, and looking good, at weak side LB. The 1-2-3 of Kuechly, Beason, and Anderson (that’s Anderson on the strong side), should have Panthers fans giddy. With Thomas Davis as a gigantic question mark for a full season, Kuechly is looking more and more like the smartest draft move the Panthers could have made in 2012. I will admit I was not happy with picking up Kuechly when we had so many defensive positions to fill, but it seems that he is fitting in well.
Our DT issues still abound, it seems, with Ron Edwards having a hyper-extended knee at camp. Edwards missed all of last year with a torn triceps, so hopefully this is a small bump in the road and is the last of his injury issues for the year.
Who will we see on the depth chart as the #2 WR? According to Ron Rivera, “I think Brandon LaFell has really stepped up and is starting [to] solidify that position as our #2 guy.” However, we may see a mid-season shift in the depth chart when David Gettis comes back. Being listed on the PUP list means that he can come off at any time, but he will stay on there until he is back to 100%.
A bright side of our training camp seems to be Captain Munnerlyn working hard, going toe-to-toe with Steve Smith, and getting into small (semi-friendly) scuffles that allow the team to grow with each other. Munnerlyn seems to be back with a vengeance after a left hamstring injury in 2011. Coach Rivera says to call him the “defensive Steve Smith”, although Munnerlyn is an inch shorter than Smith (at 5’8″, the Captain is as tall as many of us ladies). Rivera has said Munnerlyn will more than likely be a starter at CB, which angers many Panthers fans I am sure, but I think that Munnerlyn is getting better with age (this is his fourth season). Munnerlyn and Gamble at the corners will help greatly, as well as having Munnerlyn play the nickel slot some more.