CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme was asked Thursday about the progress of the offense, and he rattled off basically every name on that side of the ball.
"I like what I've seen. I like it a lot," he said, summing up the roll call.
They'd say the same thing about him.
For all the Panthers did during their three-week summer school, which wrapped up Thursday, no sign was more encouraging than Delhomme's progress. Their quarterback and leader did most of the first-team work throughout the camp, and seems on target in his comeback from last October's elbow reconstruction surgery.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald
In an offseason full of changes, that's the biggest one.
"I think what kind of team we've been is not the problem; we've lost some key people that hurt us a little bit as far as the win-loss record," coach John Fox said. "Missing Jake last year, not just because he's the quarterback, but he's kind of our spark on that side of the ball, also. A lot of those things, that's what a team is and hopefully we're improved this year."
Fox also talked about the leadership of wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who was brought in to lend stability on the field and in the locker room. Muhammad was quick to join the chorus, saying the time away clearly has Delhomme -- who's always carried that undrafted and unwanted grudge -- more determined than ever to prove himself.
"They held the reins back on him," Muhammad said. "That built up a lot of hunger in him, and he's probably had one of the best camps I've ever seen him have."
Delhomme said even though he was able to work the last three weeks, there will still be moments in Spartanburg when he'll need to take a break.
"I feel ready to go," he said. "Will I have a pitch count in camp? I'm sure I will because it will probably be the smart thing to do.
"In training camp there will be soreness. If there isn't soreness then I'm probably not putting in enough effort. If it's just normal soreness and not pain-wise, then everything is on track. But I feel like everything is on track."
Much of the camp was spent familiarizing everyone with the offensive changes.
The line's going to feature new starters in all five spots, the running game was bolstered with first-rounder Jonathan Stewart, and Muhammad and D.J. Hackett were brought in to lend credence to the non-Steve Smith part of the passing game.
So while the early returns for Delhomme and coordinator Jeff Davidson were good, they all know there's a bit of a square-one mentality this year with all the new parts.
"I think we improved offensively. I think we improved a lot," Delhomme said. "You have to adjust the mindset. I've only played two and a half games with (Davidson) but I know what he expects. He puts more on the quarterback, which I think is great. And we have some pretty sharp guys, receiver-wise, tight end-wise and running back-wise.
"You look at a team like New England and they have a lot of smart football players. That is the key. You have to have smart guys who love to play and want to compete. And I think we are really getting a lot of those guys."