2014 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

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

Kai ForbathApr 15 10:53p

Washington Redskins restricted free-agent PK Kai Forbath posted on social media Wednesday, April 15, that he has re-signed with the team. The club has not yet confirmed the signing.

George JohnsonApr 15 08:33a

Detroit Lions DE George Johnson was acquired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, April 15. Tampa signed Johnson to an offer sheet that was disputed by Detroit, but the [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 15 12:13a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers is under contract for one more season, and he has expressed a desire to play out his deal. However, the Chargers might be [ More ]

Josh GordyApr 14 06:03p

Free-agent CB Josh Gordy (Colts) signed a veteran minimum deal with the New York Giants Tuesday, April 14, according to a source.

Ricardo LocketteApr 14 05:23p

Seattle Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette signed his exclusive-rights tender Tuesday, April 14.

Ike TaylorApr 14 09:32a

Free-agent CB Ike Taylor (Steelers) announced his retirement Tuesday, April 14.

Wade SmithApr 14 02:12a

Free-agent OG Wade Smith (Eagles) announced his retirement after 12 years in the National Football League.

Michael CrabtreeApr 14 01:13a

The Oakland Raiders are giving free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) a one-year, $3 million deal with another $2 million in incentives, a source said Monday, April 13.

Eben BrittonApr 14 01:03a

Free-agent OT Eben Britton (Bears) has been suspended four games by the NFL for an unspecified violation.

Matt ForteApr 13 08:02p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was not present for the start of the offseason workouts Monday, April 13, according to sources. Forte is entering the final year of his [ More ]

Cody LatimerApr 13 08:02p

Denver Broncos WR Cody Latimer, who is expected to line up across from WR Demaryius Thomas in 2015, has been praised by WR Emmanuel Sanders, who figures to move [ More ]

Joe MaysApr 13 04:32p

Free-agent LB Joe Mays (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Monday, April 13.

Zackary BowmanApr 13 02:22p

Free-agent CB Zack Bowman (Giants) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Monday, April 13.

Sean RichardsonApr 13 02:02p

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson will remain with the Packers after the team decided to match the one-year, $2.55 million offer he signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to a source.

Sean RichardsonApr 12 10:02a

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson signed an offer sheet with the Oakland Raiders, and the Packers have until Monday, April 13, to inform him if they [ More ]

Jason CampbellApr 12 07:02a

Free-agent QB Jason Campbell (Bengals) is considering retirement, according to sources close to the team. Campbell has rejected multiple opportunities to sign a contract for 2015, including offers from [ More ]

James CaseyApr 11 01:02p

Free-agent TE James Casey (Eagles) agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Saturday, April 11. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Johnny ManzielApr 11 12:22p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel has been released from his rehab facility.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group