STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

EXPECTED BATTLES: Colin Branch vs. Travares Tillman for starting FS -- With Deon Grant having signed with Jacksonville in the off-season, second-year player Colin Branch and Travares Tillman will battle for the starting free safety spot. Although he didn't play much his rookie season, Branch has the inside track and worked with the first team defense during minicamp.

EXPECTED BATTLES: Colin Branch vs. Travares Tillman for starting FS -- With Deon Grant having signed with Jacksonville in the off-season, second-year player Colin Branch and Travares Tillman will battle for the starting free safety spot. Although he didn't play much his rookie season, Branch has the inside track and worked with the first team defense during minicamp.

OTHER EXPECTED BATTLE FRONTS: Kris Mangum vs. Mike Seidman for starting TE -- Seidman returns from a knee injury that ended his rookie season prematurely and he will try to unseat the veteran Mangum for the starting spot. However, both are expected to see significant action since the Panthers often go with two tight ends.

INJURY REPORT: OG Bruce Nelson, a second-round pick in 2003 and potential starter, is likely out for the first six games after learning he needs more hip surgery. The Panthers were expecting much out of WR Drew Carter this year and Donald Hayes is considered a fringe player. But both didn't practice Saturday. Also, linebacker Mark Fields, who is attempting to comeback from Hodgkin's Disease should be full go beginning Saturday. Coach John Fox said defensive end Kavika Pittman would miss the first part of training camp after having his knee scoped. Pittman tore the ACL in his knee in the second game of the 2003 season following an illegal chop block by Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Keenan McCardell.

--Undrafted rookie cornerback Brian King from West Virginia is also expected to miss the start of camp due to an injury.


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