John Fox said he almost hired Jeff Davidson as an assistant coach back in 2002 shortly after Fox joined the Panthers. Five years later, Davidson is the team's offensive coordinator.
"He's a guy that's not new to me by any stretch, just new on our staff here with the Panthers," Fox said. "I've known what he's all about, and when there came an opportunity to get him here, we got that done."
Many of the players are raving about the changes Davidson is making to the offense.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme remains cautiously optimistic.
"It is different. I think we're doing some very friendly things offensively," Delhomme said. "But you have to remember that you can have the best looking plays drawn up on paper, but if you don't have the players to run it and get it done and execute it the way it needs to be executed, then it's not worth a darn. It's up to us to execute."
Delhomme said the Panthers haven't made wholesale changes, but there are plenty of new wrinkles.
"We're doing a few more things," he said. "We're running some of the same stuff, just with different ideas. We have a new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach (Dave Magazu), and any time you do something new it's fun for the players because it's a new challenge and whatnot.
"It's pretty nice. It's going to be a challenge. We've got some young guys, especially at receiver. Certainly, we have Steve (Smith), but it's good to see Drew Carter and Keary Colbert do well. And it's good to watch the young guys."
--Fox said he likes the excitement Davidson has brought to the offense.
"That's where change is good," Fox said. "I think the players are challenged from the cadence to the types of plays, and how we call the plays is different. There is a new energy, and I'm sure there is some excitement that goes along with that."
"Just from rookie minicamp to now, they have picked it up," Delhomme said. "This is the biggest time for rookies (to improve). When you come into minicamp, it's different. Everything is thrown at them and it's so fast-paced. But now they've had a couple of weeks to digest everything and now it's one-a-day and they're seeing things for the second time around. This is when you see the biggest jump for rookies."
--Weight issues continue to be a concern for defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. The Panthers want Jenkins, a no-show at OTAs, to play at 335 pounds but that hasn't happened in a few years.
At the team's three-day rookie minicamp last month he appeared to be much heavier than normal -- some estimated as much as 380 pounds.
The fact that Jenkins will be away from the Panthers training facility for two more months raises speculation over what type of shape he'll be in when, or if, he returns for training camp.
"You just have to trust that he will come (to training camp) in shape," GM Marty Hurney said.
--Cornerback Ken Lucas returned to the practice field Wednesday and worked with the first-team defense alongside Chris Gamble. Second-year player Richard Marshall, coming off an outstanding rookie season, worked as the third corner.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The majority of players for the right price are on the block. He's a valuable guy and went to the Pro Bowl after coming off two injuries. They made the decision to do it, but they weren't going to give him away. In the end they decided he was too valuable." -- Agent Tony Paige (who represents Kris Jenkins) when asked what explanation the team gave him for putting Jenkins, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, on the trading block earlier this year.