A few odds and ends from Monday, or as I call it, vacation-eve:
-- Saw the report from a radio station that talked to an announcer who talked to a player about a text message he got from disgruntled franchise player Julius Peppers. If I've got that right, I think that makes it third-hand hearsay, but the theme is consistent with what everyone around here has said for months. He's expected back in time for training camp, for whatever reason.
There are two ways to view this one. One is, he'll make $16.683 million by showing up on Aug. 2 or Sept. 2, so why beat your brains out in Spartanburg? This is where the team's banking on his good faith. Now that they've twisted his arm and made him say uncle, they're counting on him doing the right thing, and showing up and learning a new system and working hard.
However, the other strategy would be to sign this week. The full amount of the franchise tender is guaranteed the moment he puts pen to paper.
So if you're intending to show up anyway, why not sign as soon as possible? God forbid you get clipped by a cab or a bus rolls over your foot. If that happens before you sign, they could pull the tender and be out nothing, cash-wise. Sign, and you're covered.
Peppers has said time and again this isn't about the money. But once it's understood that they're not going to cave, and your options are either show up and take the cash or retire, why not put that money in the bank as soon as possible.
So don't be surprised if the paperwork gets signed sooner rather than later, and then all that's left is waiting for him to walk in the door.
-- Players are hopping because there's only one more day of summer school. But they also got a kick out of the first big installation of goal-line plays on both sides of the ball.
This is going to be one of the biggest questions about Ron Meeks' new defense. When you're built around quickness and penetration and keeping things in front of you, it forces you to lean toward finesse rather than power.
How that manifests itself when the other team's trying to run it down your throat's going to be interesting.
The hope is that with a simplified scheme, there's less chance of guys blowing assignments. You strip down the playbook, and give a guy one thing to do, and then it's about execution. But it's also easier to run against a smaller, quicker front, so it will be key to have linebackers in exactly the right spot at the right moment.
-- Other than Him, attendance has been good throughout the voluntary work. K John Kasay was out Monday, but that just meant kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd got to enjoy some fantasy camp work on field goals.