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

Wes WelkerSep 17 10:53a

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker has been reinstated Wednesday, Sept. 17, after a new drug testing agreement was reached.

Josh GordonSep 17 10:03a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is expected to return to the team's facility for conditioning and team meetings this week. He would be eligible to play against the Atlanta Falcons Nov. 23.

Sam YoungSep 17 09:33a

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Sam Young was named the starter at right tackle, and C Luke Bowanko will start at center in Week 3.

Matt BosherSep 17 09:03a

Atlanta Falcons P Matt Bosher signed a five-year contract extension with the team. LS Josh X. Harris was signed to a four-year extension as well.

Brian UrlacherSep 17 03:43a

With an injury to LB Mason Foster, rumors have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pursuing free agent LB Brian Urlacher (Bears). Urlacher resigned Tuesday, Sept. 16, from his Fox Sports [ More ]

Jemea ThomasSep 17 03:23a

The Dallas Cowboys signed FB Nikita Whitlock to the practice squad on Tuesday, Sept. 16. The Cowboys cut CB Jemea Thomas to make room.

Andre EllingtonSep 17 02:43a

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) has soreness in his left foot but it has gone down considerably from a week ago. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hopes Ellington can [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 17 02:13a

The Minnesota Vikings announced RB Adrian Peterson was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list Wednesday, Sept. 17, which will keep him away from the team indefinitely.

Vernon DavisSep 16 11:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle) has a deep bone bruise but no structural damage to his ankle, and the team is optimistic he will be able to play in Week 3.

Vance McDonaldSep 16 11:33p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vance McDonald's (knee) MRI and X-ray results on his right knee came back negative Tuesday, Sept. 16, and he said the injury is just a day-to-day thing.

Carson PalmerSep 16 11:03p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer's (shoulder) timetable to return from a nerve injury in his shoulder could vary greatly, according to head coach Bruce Arians. 'It takes some time,' [ More ]

Jordy NelsonSep 16 10:56p

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has targeted WR Jordy Nelson 30 times in two games so far this year. Rodgers has never targeted one of his wideouts more [ More ]

John AbrahamSep 16 10:13p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion) did not pass his concussion tests Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Abraham will try to pass the tests again Wednesday.

Carson PalmerSep 16 09:33p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) will receive medical opinions on how to accelerate the healing process of the injured nerve in his shoulder, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Josh GordonSep 16 09:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon had his season-long suspension officially cut to 10 games Tuesday, Sept. 16. He could also avoid serving the mandatory two-game suspension for his DWI [ More ]

Justin JonesSep 16 07:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent TE Justin Jones (Patriots) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Sept. 16.

L. WashingtonSep 16 07:03p

The New York Giants re-signed WR Travis Harvey to their practice squad and signed free-agent WR L'Damian Washington (49ers) to their practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Chris SmithSep 16 06:53p

The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed LB Chris Smith to their practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Isaiah FreySep 16 06:33p

Chicago Bears CB Isaiah Frey and WR Rashad Ross were signed from the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Matthew MulliganSep 16 06:23p

The Chicago Bears released TE Matthew Mulligan Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Shaun DraughnSep 16 06:23p

The Chicago Bears placed RB Shaun Draughn and WR Chris X. Williams on no-recall waivers Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Arthur JonesSep 16 06:13p

Indianapolis Colts DT Arthur Jones (ankle) is likely to be out two to four weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 3 Monday, Sept. 15.

Walter ThurmondSep 16 06:03p

New York Giants WR Julian Talley and LB Dan Fox were promoted to the team's active roster from the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 16, filling the spots left by [ More ]

Preston ParkerSep 16 06:03p

New York Giants WR Preston Parker could see more snaps with WR Jerrell Jernigan recently placed on Reserve/Injured. Parker caught one pass for 29 yards against the Arizona Cardinals [ More ]

Nevin LawsonSep 16 05:53p

The Detroit Lions placed CB Nevin Lawson (toes) on Reserve/Injured and signed free-agents CB Danny Gorrer (Buccaneers) and LB Julian Stanford (Lions) to their practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Mike PounceySep 16 05:32p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) thinks he's healthy enough to return to action in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs. 'I feel like I can play,' Pouncey [ More ]

Victor ButlerSep 16 05:32p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent LB Victor Butler (Saints) and released LB Marcus Benard and P Drew Butler Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Zach BrownSep 16 05:23p

Tennessee Titans LB Zach Brown (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Sept. 16.

James AndersonSep 16 05:23p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent LB James Anderson (Patriots) to their active roster Tuesday, Sept. 16. The Titans believe Anderson can play an inside linebacker position, where they are thin.

Walter ThurmondSep 16 05:13p

New York Giants CB Walter Thurmond (pectoral) has been placed on season-ending Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Doug MartinSep 16 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (knee) was limited at practice for the second straight day Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Jerrel JerniganSep 16 05:03p

New York Giants WR Jerrel Jernigan (foot) has been placed on season-ending Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Sept. 16.

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