2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers arrive at camp with sense of urgency

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-26 02:33

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - Tight end Greg Olsen says the Carolina Panthers need to have a sense of urgency this summer at training camp after the team's sluggish starts the past two seasons.

Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith couldn't agree more.

``A sense of urgency is an understatement,'' said Smith, the team's senior statesman entering his 13th season.

The Panthers started 1-6 last season and 1-5 in 2011.

And while the Panthers finished strong both seasons they weren't able to dig themselves out of that early hole and reach the playoffs.

Coach Ron Rivera enters his third season squarely on the hot seat, barely keeping his job after going 13-19 the past two seasons.

He can't afford another slow start.

``Slow starts will get you fired, cut and bring change real quick for everyone,'' Smith said.

The Panthers team that arrived at Wofford College on Thursday for training camp bears a strong resemblance to the group that finished last season with four straight wins. The only regular starters who've moved on are cornerback Chris Gamble and linebacker James Anderson.

While players' opinions varied on the importance of last year's strong finish, they all agree on the need to be ready when September rolls around.

``We can't put ourselves in that hole and think a late six-game push is going to put us over the top when you start the season 2-8,'' Olsen said. ``We need those late-season pushes, but that is to put you into the playoffs not to just salvage a season. And that's kind of how it's been the last couple of years - the games at the end of the season, even though they're good to win, they kind of became meaningless.

``We need to make those games in November and December real and the only way to do that is to put ourselves in playoff contention.''

Olsen believes the key to starting fast is identifying the team's strengths heading into the season.

Rivera said earlier this offseason there will be more of an emphasis on getting running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart more involved in the offense.

Although Williams and Stewart have both proven capable of spearheading a top-notch rushing attack in the past, it was quarterback Cam Newton who led the team in rushing last season with 741 yards.

Stewart, who is recovering from surgery on both ankles this offseason, said he will not be ready for Friday night's first practice.

He said there is a still a substantial level of pain in his right ankle and isn't sure when he'll be ready to get on the field.

``They found a lot of loose bodies hanging out in my ankles and they cleaned that up,'' Stewart said. ``Right now I'm just left with the damage that the loose bodies have caused. So that's what I'm working through.''

Linebacker Jon Beason is trying to bounce back from microfracture surgery on his right knee and said he'll miss the start of camp, too.

Beason has missed 27 of the last 31 games with injuries.

He said there's a chance he won't practice much at all this summer so he can rest for the regular season.

``I'm not great right now and I can admit that,'' Beason said. ``But we still have time. I'm optimistic about that. I've done everything I can do at this point. It's a waiting game.''

Carolina hasn't been to the playoffs since 2008.

Offensive tackle and co-captain Jordan Gross said he likes the idea that the Panthers are flying under the radar this season and that pundits aren't placing much faith in them.

``We're in a nice spot with this team,'' Gross said. ``There are some people who think we can be good but nobody is picking us to be first in the division. That's a good spot to be in because there is less pressure on us and just lets us do our thing down here at camp and get ready.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Marcus TrufantApr 23 06:13p

Free-agent CB Marcus Trufant (Jaguars) will sign a deal with the Seattle Seahawks with the intention of retiring with the team.

Jason Pierre-PaulApr 23 04:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) said great and that he will not be limited during offseason workouts. Pierre-Paul has lost 15 pounds this offseason and is comfortable [ More ]

Ryan CladyApr 23 04:23p

Denver Broncos OT Ryan Clady (foot) would not give a timetable for his return but said he does expect to be ready for the start of the regular season.

David WilsonApr 23 04:03p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said he is feeling good and is just waiting for the doctors to clear him to play again. Wilson said he is [ More ]

Jamar TaylorApr 23 03:53p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor said he considered quitting football after he dealt with injuries during the 2013 season but is ready to play this upcoming season. 'It was [ More ]

Sam BradfordApr 23 03:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford (knee) will start the offseason conditioning program in a limited fashion while still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season. Head [ More ]

Tyrann MathieuApr 23 03:03p

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said FS Tyrann Mathieu's (knee) rehab is on schedule but believes Mathieu probably will start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform [ More ]

Shaun DraughnApr 23 02:23p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent RB Shaun Draughn (Colts) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Stephen BurtonApr 23 02:03p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have placed WR Stephen Burton on the Reserve/Retired list.

Antrel RolleApr 23 01:13p

New York Giants FS Antrel Rolle, who is entering the final year of his contract, said finishing his career with the Giants would be an ideal situation. Rolle said [ More ]

Frank SummersApr 23 12:33p

The Buffalo Bills have re-signed exclusive rights free-agent FB Frank Summers, WR Chris Hogan, and OG Antoine McClain. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Aldon SmithApr 23 12:23p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was present for the start of offseason workouts Monday, April 21, even though he was arrested in Los Angeles last week.

Dominic RaiolaApr 23 12:23p

Detroit Lions C Dominic Raiola said he would be fine with the team selecting a center during the 2014 NFL Draft, because he understands that he is near the [ More ]

Doug MarroneApr 23 12:03p

Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone had a cancerous mole removed Tuesday, April 22. 'That's basically the end of the story,' Marrone said. 'The recent extraction procedure will have [ More ]

Terrelle PryorApr 23 08:58a

The Seattle Seahawks acquired QB Terrelle Pryor from the Oakland Raiders Monday, April 21, in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in this year's draft. He will compete with [ More ]

Matt RyanApr 22 10:53p

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is calling for major improvement on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He fears the team could bottom out for a second [ More ]

EJ ManuelApr 22 08:13p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel (knees) is healthy entering voluntary workouts and feels normal and had no limitations during the Tuesday, April 22 conditioning program. Bills head coach Doug [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 22 07:53p

Updating a previous report, the Baltimore Ravens have officially placed LB Rolando McClain on the reserve-retired list for a second time. The Ravens will retain McClain's rights if he changes his mind again.

Eli ManningApr 22 07:33p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) expects to be 100 percent for the beginning of training camp. Manning has no concerns about learning the Giants' new playbook, instead [ More ]

Ray RiceApr 22 04:43p

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice looks great physically, according to strength and conditioning coach Bob Roguck. 'He's doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth, [ More ]

David WilsonApr 22 02:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said he is still waiting for a clear MRI to be medically cleared, but is currently ahead of schedule.

Julio JonesApr 22 01:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) will be limited during the team's offseason workouts while he recovers from offseason foot surgery. 'Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,' [ More ]

Eli ManningApr 22 01:03p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) said his ankle is progressing but he does not have a timetable for his return to the field. Manning is currently in a walking boot.

Stevie BrownApr 22 12:33p

New York Giants FS Stevie Brown (knee) said he feels like he is ready to go when the Giants hit the field after recovering from a serious knee injury. [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 10:33a

The New York Giants are likely to cut FS Will Hill after his third potential drug suspension.

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group