A big selling point for Ron Rivera, so the Panthers thought, was his lockout-ready 2011 plan.
It was smart, being the only coach who had contingency plans. Their owner, of course, did too - Jerry Richardson has been cap-mindful for three years, and most of his plans up to now were preparing for lockout.
So, with a lockout in place, Carolina waited. When it had its chance, it distributed playbooks, and the team did its best from there. With that said, it looks like it's time to enact Part Two.
A minicamp will apparently take place starting Friday, says a team claiming to quote Jeremy Shockey. This is on the assumption that there's an agreement this week, and then the team will start meeting ASAP.
A minicamp gives players the ability to start learning from the coaching staff instead of each other, and start getting an idea for what the team wants. It's hard to say what the long term plans are, but the regular season opener September 11 looks to be intact, along with all preseason games.
Last year, training camp opened July 28th, so a camp that runs July 22-25 would offer the ability to meet locally, break in time to give a few days off, and then start camp around the first of the month, first game roughly two weeks after.
What's not yet clear - who will participate? It will be a few days before free agency, and draft picks might not be the first priority to sign.
The intent seems to be that the first wave, 72 hours worth of the start of the league year, will feature the ability to re-sign free agents, and sign undrafted FAs. All this would seem to be after this first minicamp. So would draftees, and FAs, show up? or even be invited?
It's hard to say, but there's real football planned, so I'll take it.