Summer has arrived for the Carolina Panthers.
After two days of mandatory minicamp practice and the third day spent practicing the conditioning test players will take upon their return, Panthers players are off until the start of training camp July 27.
At least most of them. The rookies are hanging around for another week for some meetings, but then will be free to go as well.
The team had a productive week filled with situational drills, signing rookies to contracts and more.
1. How many times in his career did Steve Smith Sr. go over 1,000 receiving yards in a season?
2. What local food establishment is a favorite of the Panthers running backs and other players?
Quarterback Sam Darnold had a bit of an up-and-down week overall with more negatives than positives. Tipped passes were too frequent. It’s far too early to draw major conclusions from anything that is taking place on the field, but there was plenty to make note of.
Wide receiver Robby Anderson made his first appearance of the offseason training program by attending minicamp Tuesday and Wednesday. The wideout shared that his absence was simply related to wanting to stick to his training method and had nothing to do with the team.
“I was working,” Anderson said. “It’s not like I was sitting around doing nothing. I know the best I am, the better I can be to everybody in my life.”
Speaking of Darnold’s struggles, Jonathan M. Alexander took a look at his tape with the New York Jets. What is there to take from his past that could be reflected in his time in Carolina? Not many positives. How much can be blamed on the Jets being a bad team overall? More here.
NFL players getting the COVID-19 vaccine or not has been a popular topic of conversation lately. Last week, Darnold shared that he had not yet been vaccinated, but declined to comment on it further this week. Running back Christian McCaffrey declined to comment on his vaccination status this week.
Head coach Matt Rhule said that he is encouraging players and others to be vaccinated, but he understands that it is everyone’s individual choice. The coaching staff is vaccinated.
The league passed restrictive policies for those who are not vaccinated this week. Columist Scott Fowler shared his thoughts on Darnold and McCaffrey’s responses.
Taylor Moton is by far the best offensive lineman on the Panthers roster. He is currently set to play under the franchise tag this year, unless a long-term deal can be worked out by July 15. A source informed The Observer that it’s a possibility that could still happen, but that it’s not likely at this time.
Check out Moton’s comments on his situation.
NEWS FROM THE WEEK YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
▪ Former Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater told reporters in Denver this week that he probably should have “shut it down” for the season last year after suffering an injury in Week 10 vs. the Buccaneers. He went on to play five more games, and his numbers were down significantly from the start of the season.
▪ The team agreed to terms with its first two draft picks from the 2021 class this week — cornerback Jaycee Horn and wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. More details on Horn’s contract here and the end of his mini holdout.
▪ The Panthers brought in five players to try out during minicamp, including veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.