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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Workouts: Newton's Opportunity?

Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton, two of the team's higher paid players and their two most consistent linemen, have started a players only team camp. Assembled at Charlotte Christian's playing fields includes about 35 Panthers, 15 or so free agent Panthers, and a paid Charlotte police officer to fend off media and fans.

Certainly, there are no coaches there. No scouts or staff. So Gross and Wharton are the defacto leaders. Not completely by accident, they're also the two players (aside from Steve Smith, who's absent) that still remember the Coryell offense from under Dan Henning.

Who else knows it? Well, Cam Newton, to a point. It's no secret that he's worked at IMG with Ken Dorsey, who played under Rob Chudzinski at Miami, and Chris Weinke, who was here in Carolina for Henning's tenure here. They drill the offense, along with other workouts, in his time there daily.

So, given that three guys know it, and there are no coaches there, it looks like a great time for Newton to step into a leadership role and help the other youth learn the offense. There's nothing but young receivers out there, for instance - great way to get to know them.

Speaking of opportunity, it'd be great to know the inner workings of this camp. For instance, if I was Gross or Wharton, clearly I'd have Mike Minter and Mike Rucker out there teaching the defense. I'd look hard at the costs of putting Dorsey or Weinke on a plane to help out. I'd have to hire someone trustworthy to keep things organized.

I know that this isn't necessarily about hardcore installation of the offense and defense, and it's not about drills. It's expected to be about teamwork, getting to know each other, and certainly establishing leadership on a young team that didn't see much of it last year. But there's an opportunity there, to bring in friendly faces to help.

Absent that, hopefully Newton takes the reins and covers that himself.
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