The Panthers wrapped up the first week of summer school Friday, and usually that means they're about a third of the way through the camp.
Not this year.
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Generally, coach John Fox would schedule four week's worth practices, and then, fooling no one, cancel the last week and take of for his beach place in Florida. Made him look magnanimous, that way.
With training camp not starting until Aug. 2, however, he didn't want to give them nearly seven weeks off between organized football workouts. So this thing's going to drag out until June 18th, with three more weeks of Monday-through-Thursday workouts at Bank of America Stadium.
For the new guys, it won't be that big a deal, since they've known nothing else and teams are allowed 15 days of OTAs. But for the veterans -- and the media -- it's a vacation-delaying blow.
-- One of the competitions worth watching this summer will be for the return jobs. They worked on kickoffs Friday, and figure to have plenty of speedy options.
They had rookie RB Mike Goodson, WR Larry Beavers and CB Captain Munnerlyn back there Friday, all looking exceedingly quick.
QB Jake Delhomme marveled at Goodson's feet the other day, eyes popping wide and saying "He's got jets," when asked about the impression the fourth-rounder had made.
Any of the three would provide a speed upgrade over 2008 version Mark Jones, who might have been the slowest good returner ever. Now all special teams coach Danny Crossman has to do is teach these fast kids to return as well as Jones could, and they could be onto something.
The new rules outlawing three-man wedges on kickoffs will put a premium on having a returner who can make things happen on his own. The Panthers didn't use those wedges as much as some teams, but it was in the arsenal, and will need to be adapted. Having a burner behind them will make the blockers' job easier.