After watching the Panthers in their first practice back in Charlotte Thursday, a few random thoughts before preseason game No.2 at Miami Friday night:
1) I think Ron Rivera would like to name his starting quarterback for the Sept.11 season opener this Sunday (here's my column delving into this issue more in depth). Not that he will, but I think he'd like to. That Sunday will count as a "Wednesday" in Panther parlance -- they are going to use the week as a dress rehearsal for a real game. Wednesdays are when game plans go in for a normal "play-on-Sunday" week, and so ideally you know your starting QB by four days before the game.
2) Panther LB Jon Beason is doing himself no favors not talking about the Miami scandal, since his name has been linked to it. Speculation rushes in to fill a "lack of information" void, and Beason knows that. If I were him, I wouldn't just try to wish this away. I'd talk about it once, and then after that I'd be done with it.
3) Is Derek Anderson a dark-horse contender in the QB race? No. It's going to be Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen in that opener at Arizona.
4) The Panthers keeping such a deep stable of running backs already looks like a good idea. Of their top 3 backs, only DeAngelo Williams is healthy enough to play Friday night.
5) I'm interested to see Steve Smith in action Friday night, especially with Newton. Smith has a history of performing well in Miami, and I thought he looked very good in practice Thursday.
(Note: Guys, I had to disable comments again for this blog due to a small minority of folks who insist on using obscenities and/or racial taunts in their comments. I am sorry for the vast majority of you who keep it clean, but when some folks stoop so low I have no choice.... Scott)