Hey there football fans. Saturday, August 2nd was Fan Fest at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. A time for fans to see their hometown football team go through practice. I loaded up the boy and we made a little road trip to Charlotte. Here's my observations...from the Red Zone.
1st Down -- Delhomme to Muhammed -- When the first team offense went against the 2nd team defense during 11 on 11 drills, it was nice to hear radio play by play man, Mick Mixon, say those words over the p.a. system. I think we'll see just how much that combination has been missing as part of the Panther offense.
2nd Down -- Defensive Attitude -- You have to love a defense that comes onto the field with a little bit of nastiness to them. Julius Peppers got through the line and had some pressures, including one sack on #2 QB, Matt Moore. Chris Gamble brought the hammer with him as he laid a couple of good licks on the receivers. One hit was when the receiver made the catch and Gamble hit him in the middle of the back and threw him to the ground. I know it's just a practice session, but it's nice to see the guys bring it.
3rd Down -- Deanglo Williams -- This is my first time seeing this guy play in person. You just can't appreciate his speed and finesse from watching on TV. He'll make a cut back move and accelerate down the sideline for a nice gain. This showed me just how much we need to utilize the ground game again this season.
4th Down -- Kicking Game -- Original Panther John Kasey made a 47 yard field goal in the scrimmage part of practice. Australian Ryss Lloyd could challenge Kasey for his job. Lloyd was making 50 yarders with no problem. Head Coach John Fox might keep Lloyd for kickoffs and use Kasey for field goals and PAT's. If for some reason Lloyd gets cut, another team will snatch him up very quickly.
If you're a Panther fan, you've heard by now that WR Steve Smith is suspended for the first two games of the year against San Diego and Chicago for his altercation with Ken Lucas at Friday's practice. That's a big blow not having your #1 wideout on the field for those first two games, but Fox had to do something. Fights in training camp isn't all that uncommon, but when someone suffers an injury due to it, then it's a huge problem. I truly believe that Smith is remorseful about the whole issue. That was evident by him going over to Lucas afterwards apologizing for that. Another good sign from that is that Mushin Muhammed went over there with Smith. This just shows you that Moose is assuming a leadership role on this team. Speaking of Moose, I think we'll see just how much he was missed the last few season while he was in Chicago. The first guage of the season will be on Saturday, August 9th when the Indianapolis Colts come to town for our first pre season game of the year. It will be Indy's second, since they play in the Hall of Fame Game against the Washington Redskins.