Panthers Update 5-6

The latest news and notes on the Carolina Panthers and the fallout from mini camp held this past weekend.

Although some Carolina fans still believe David Carr will replace Jake Delhomme as the starter at some point this season, Delhomme doesn't seem worried.

He believes Carr is a good addition for the Panthers.

"I think it's great," Delhomme said. "I love having another set of eyes. He's started a bunch of games (76) in this league. So when I come to the sideline, not only talking to (quarterback coach) Mike McCoy, but the other quarterbacks and getting that extra feedback from them."

Shortly after he signed with the Panthers, Carr made it clear he has no intention to be anything but supportive to Delhomme, saying he doesn't want Delhomme to feel like he's tapping him on the shoulder.

That's something Delhomme appreciates.

"That's the way I always was when I was a backup," Delhomme said. "I don't have any doubt he'll be ready to play if he's called upon. That's his job, and that's Brett (Basanez's) job also. So (the way) I look at it, I'm glad he's here. He'll help us along the way."

-- Hard to believe, but with Keyshawn Johnson gone, Delhomme is now the senior member of the offense.

He turned 32 in January.

"It's different for me because I guess I never considered myself one of the older guys," Delhomme said. "We're a little bit younger, so you've got to make sure you're doing the right thing, and leading by example."

-- The Panthers started out with first-round draft pick Jon Beason working at outside linebacker behind starter Na'il Diggs.

"I took a lot of snaps outside, but as a linebacker you have to be interchangeable," Beason said. "People get hurt, so you've got to learn all three. Right now, I'm focusing on outside, but I know I've got to learn inside also."

It's expected Beason will wind up starting at weak-side linebacker ahead of Diggs, who did little last season in the way of big plays. However, if Dan Morgan gets hurt again, Beason would move inside.

Morgan was back on the field Friday for the first time since a concussion in last year's season opener sidelined him for the season.

All of the team's draft picks practiced on Friday, but none of them worked with the first team. In most cases, that's usually how it works. If the Panthers are to make a switch, it could happen in the three-week June minicamp.

-- Nate Salley is working with the first team at strong safety opposite veteran Mike Minter -- for now.

The Panthers will likely see what they have at safety before looking to upgrade in free agency or via trade. Don't be surprised to see a move come at some point, perhaps next week. Among the safeties available in free agency are Sammy Knight, Mike Logan, Tebucky Jones, Tony Parrish, Lance Schulters and Troy Vincent.

-- The Panthers have all sorts of options when it comes to their interior offensive line.

Mike Wahle will remain at left guard, but the possibilities at center include Geoff Hangartner, Justin Hartwig and rookie Ryan Kalil, their highly touted second-round draft pick from USC. At right guard, there are numerous options including Hangartner, Hartwig, Evan Mathis and even Jeremy Bridges, who started 14 games last year at right tackle.

"I mean it's the good thing about getting whacked pretty good at that position last year, we got to look at a lot of young guys that might not have gotten that much playing time a year ago, and they got that experience, much like we did in '04 with some of the guys that we went through the season with," Fox said. "So that's the upside."

Wharton and Jordan Gross are penciled in at the tackle spots, but with Wharton still rehabbing you can expect Rashad Butler to see the majority of reps at left tackle. Butler, a third-round pick in 2006, didn't play at all as a rookie. The team wanted him to focus on improving his physique, adding size and strength. He appears to have done both.

QUOTABLE: "You know, it's still early but so far, so good. I have a feeling we'll get along just fine. I get along with pretty much everyone out here, I have a feeling it'll be the same way. Things won't change from what it's been in the past." -- Jake Delhomme on his relationship with David Carr.

-- When asked if he was surprised by the release of Keyshawn Johnson, Jake Delhomme shrugged his shoulders and said, "Yes and no. Things don't surprise me too much anymore in this league.

"I saw things happen early in my career that shocked me, so I guess, I don't want to say battle-tested, but you kind of used to it. That's part of it. You got to realize, you're always looking to get replaced. I don't care who you are. There's always somebody coming behind you. That's just part of it."

In this case it's rookie Dwayne Jarrett, who is considered a Johnson clone.

"Yeah, it did surprise me," Jarrett said. "But there's nothing I can do about it. It happened, we just have to move on from here and keep working hard."

Added Delhomme: "That's part of the business. I didn't know it was going to happen. That's the dark side of the business. Our front office, they make the right calls more often than not, and that was their decision."

On Thursday, Drew Carter worked with the first team at wide receiver opposite Steve Smith. However, Jarrett is likely to move ahead of him on the depth chart by the time the season arrives.

-- Although Carolina seems pretty stacked with interior offensive linemen, don't be surprised if the Panthers attempt to add one more guy to the mix.

Guard Joe Andruzzi, who played for new Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson in New England and later followed him to Cleveland, was released by the Browns on May 4.

The two remain good friends.

In a recent interview with Andruzzi, he said of Davidson, "He's the main reason I signed with the Browns. I have a great deal of respect for him. He's a former player who understands a player's thinking. He's real smart and understands the aspect of being a player. You couldn't ask for a better guy to play for."

MEDICAL WATCH: Among the Panthers still on the shelf include defensive linemen Mike Rucker (knee) and Jordan Carstens (lung), offensive tackle Travelle Wharton (knee) and cornerback Ken Lucas, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. All of them are recovering well from their injuries, according to coach John Fox.


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