They just wrapped up OTAs for the summer this morning, and have adjourned until training camp opens on Aug. 2.
Coach John Fox was leaning heavily on their last game as motivation during his farewell speech, emphasizing to his guys that they should use the painful loss to Arizona as fuel for the coming season. Then he told them to be careful, not get their names in the paper and so long.
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-- RB Jonathan Stewart talked for the first time this spring. He hasn't worked at all in minicamp or OTAs. He said he had a sore left Achilles tendon, a result of overcompensating for last year's toe surgery. Said he didn't think it would be a problem once he got to Spartanburg.
It's actually amazing how much he was able to do last year without ever taking a snap until training camp, and got a similar reprieve this year.
Now the challenge for him and pal DeAngelo Williams will be the replicate last year's success. Some regression's almost expected (they call them career years for a reason).
-- The last day of OTAs are always fun to watch players go through strength coach Jerry Simmons' final conditioning test. They have to run four sets of two sideline-to-sideline and back sprints in a prescribed time, based on position groups.
The big guys always labor through it, some more than others. XL rookie DT Lonnie Harvey had to kick like a racehorse in order to push Maake Kemoeatu for the last spot among the big fellas. At least they got a cloudy day in which to finish.
Also of note among the linemen, rookie G Duke Robinson doesn't look nearly as sloppy as he did at the start of this camp. Two of the knocks on him during the pre-draft process were his conditioning and work ethic. If they were problems when he got here, they appear to be less so now.
For the most part, this team still looks faster than last year, which fits the plan.
-- Everybody's still on the same page, saying they expect Him to show up on time. Fox downplayed the whole matter, saying he didn't expect Him to have any problems once he arrived, from either a conditioning standpoint or being able to pick up a new scheme.
Stay tuned for periodic updates through the summer. There are rookies to sign, and eight guys to cut once everyone has contracts, but for the most part, this is the slow time of year for me as well.
I'll drop in when there's reason, but the days of daily updates are done until we get to late July.