3 things I was thinking while watching Monday morning's practice in Spartanburg under threatening skies that would later produce a light drizzle but not much more:
1. If I'm John Fox, no way I play Steve Smith in the preseason at all, even though No.89 got off the "physically unable to perform" list this morning and returned to practice. Really, what's the point? Smith is always in great shape, he hasn't forgotten how to catch the ball and there's no telling how long that twice-broken arm is going to hold up. No need to take the risk. (And no flag football either).
2. Practice is a little more fun to watch from a spectator's standpoint this season. They hit each other more, they're in full pads more and there are more jobs at stake. With that, there seems to be more of a sense of urgency.
3. Do you know anything about Josh Vaughan, who led the Panthers with 11 rushes and 48 yards in Thursday night's Baltimore game? Vaughan is waaaay down on the depth chart and was out of football most of last season, but the former Richmond Spider has turned a few heads in the preseason. If he doesn't make this team, at least he may catch on somewhere else now. Vaughan is a versatile back who's pretty good catching the ball out of the backfield, too. I'm writing my column about him for Tuesday's newspaper and online -- check back for that.