--Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney recently warned reporters of his young receiving corps: "Guys, don't forget about Taye Biddle."
The New York Giants sure did.
Biddle, who played in two games last season for the Panthers, sprung himself free for touchdown receptions of 23 and 85 yards in Saturday night's preseason game against the New York Giants.
Biddle, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent last season, played in two games in 2006 and caught three passes for 37 yards, but showed a good mix of speed and quickness, justifying Hurney's optimism that he can be a contributor on offense.
On his first score, Biddle ran a hitch-and-go along the right sideline and the defender completely lost track of him as he hauled in a 23-yard scoring strike from David Carr on the final drive of the second quarter. Biddle came back on Carolina's first drive of the third quarter and nabbed a pass from Brett Basanez over the middle and out-raced several defensive backs the final 60 yards for an 85-yard score.
--Panthers left tackle Travelle Wharton quietly made his return to the field after missing 15 games last season with a torn ACL. Wharton did a great job of opening up holes in the running game and protecting Jake Delhomme.
"It felt great to get back out there in a game situation and line up against someone other than our own defense," Wharton said. "I caught a bull rush and I was able to cut and hit the guy out a little bit. It felt really good and overall my body felt really good."
--Coach John Fox on Jon Beason's first NFL preseason game: "I saw him fly around and make a couple of quick pops. But until we watch the tape and evaluate, I won't really know. He has a lot of work to do and so do we."
--If new offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson's has his way you'll see plenty of screens this year. While much of the talk has revolved around the team's zone-blocking scheme, the team has worked just as hard installing screen passes. Back in the team's three-week minicamp, Davidson installed at least one new screen pass per day and a few more have been added since the start of training camp.
"I think we have two backs that can really get it done," quarterback Jake Delhomme said. "I think our guys can run with the ball when they get it in their hands out in space, and they catch extremely well. Having those two guys (catching screen passes) could be pretty big."
Both Williams and Foster have proven adept as receivers, combining for 65 receptions last season, although very few of those were on set screen passes.
--Wide receiver Keary Colbert, who worked some with the first team offense last week, is trying to put two terrible seasons behind him and re-emerge as a receiving threat.
Colbert started 15 games as a rookie in 2004 and caught 47 passes for 754 yards and five touchdowns, but over the past two seasons his production has fallen off the map with only 30 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns despite starting 19 games.
Colbert caught just five passes for 56 yards in 2006 and was inactive for four games late in the season.
"It was pretty difficult because of my natural competitive nature," said Colbert, who did not catch a pass in the second half of the '06 season. "I wanted to be out there competing, helping my team win. It was tough in that sense but as far as from an organizational standpoint we were trying to do other things as a team. It was a situation where you can't be too selfish and realize what is going on and just accept it."
During the off-season, there was even some speculation the Panthers had given up on Colbert and might release him. But so far the team is happy with his play at camp.
"I don't try to dwell on stuff like that," Colbert said. "When things like that happen it doesn't bother me because if they wanted to get rid of somebody they could do it at any point to anybody."
Drew Carter began training camp as the starting No. 2 receiver, but over the last three or four practices Colbert has been lining up and running with the ones. However, Carter started Saturday night against the New York Giants.
Obviously, the Panthers would like for second-round draft pick Dwayne Jarrett to step up and assume that role. Jarrett, however, is still learning the offense and suffered a minor setback on Wednesday when he tweaked his hamstring. It's considered minor and he's listed as day-to-day.
Taye Biddle may have thrust himself into the mix when he caught two touchdown passes in a 24-21 win over the Giants.
--The temperature at Panthers training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., hit 103 degrees last week with a heat index of 115 on the field, three shy of the all-time record, according to team officials. New safety Chris Harris can't believe the difference in temperature from here to Bourbonnais, Ill., where he spent his first week of training camp with the Bears.
On Tuesday, former Bears teammate Mark Bradley called to say how hot it was in Illinois.
"He said, 'Chris, they're trying to kill us out there. It's so hot," Harris said.
Harris just laughed.
"I said to him, 'Don't complain to me about being hot. Yesterday we practiced at 3 o'clock with a 110 heat index.'" Harris said. "He just shut up after that."
Panther update 8-17
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