Panthers news and notes - 4-1

Speaking at the NFC coaches luncheon this past week in Phoenix, John Fox said the Panthers plan to switch to a zone-blocking scheme, a notable change from last year.

New offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson will begin implementing the system at the rookie minicamp at the end of the month.

"We have not been much of a zone-blocking team," Fox told the Charlotte Observer. "Yet, we're kind of set up that way, to be real honest with you. That's something (Davidson) has a belief in, and I think he has the presence to get it across."

The Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons have used the system for years with plenty of success, while some others have tried and failed. In a zone-blocking scheme, linemen are responsible for blocking any defender who appears in their zone, instead of focusing on one defender.

That style could prove to be a better fit for running backs DeAngelo Williams and DeShaun Foster. They are known more as speed backs than power backs.

--Fox also told the Charlotte Observer that his plans this year for the offensive line will be to use Travelle Wharton at left tackle (providing he can return from a torn ACL and MCL), move Jordan Gross back to right tackle, keep Mike Wahle at left guard and Justin Hartwig at center. Hartwig miss all but one start last year due to a groin injury. Also, Geoff Hangartner, who started at center for the injured Hartwig last year, will compete with Evan Mathis at right guard.

"If you're an athletic offensive line, it makes the defense honest," Fox told the Observer. "That's the key. It's about keeping the opponent off-balance and creating good matchups."

--The Panthers are a little worried that defensive tackle Kris Jenkins is not attending off-season workouts with the team.

--When Mike Minter retires next year, he will delve into many of his business projects. His biggest is a daycare he owns with teammate Mike Rucker called the "Ruckus House." They are hoping to go nationwide at some point.

"I can't imagine coming to this point and not having anything to do after the game," Minter said. "But over 90 percent of guys that leave this game and don't have anything to go to. A high percentage leave the game with no money and that is a scary thing. That is why I've always looked outside of football and said, 'What I can get involved in to generate income?'"

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The only thing that would make me come back one more year was if (owner) Mr. (Jerry) Richardson asked me to come back. I would do it for him." -- Panthers S Mike Minter on if there's any way he would change his mind about retiring. Minter plans to retire after the 2007 season.


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