Written By: T.J. Blanton
Friday, the first time in thirteen years the Carolina Panthers took the field for Fan Fest without long time leader and veteran Steve Smith. A huge point of interest for fans, local news stations, and tax payers were all the renovations that took place over the offseason. The first thing you notice is the huge video boards and much improved sound system. You also notice the ribbon boards offer more information and advertisements than ever before. These came into play quickly as the wait for the players to come practice was filled with a new edition of Panthers Huddle and a new series Panthers Camp Confidential, which is a new experiment by the Panthers since they just started a partnership with Time Warner Cable Sports Channel to be pretty much the official Carolina Panthers official television network. I must note that it appears during Panthers Huddle this season they will reflect on memorable moments throughout the 20 seasons of the franchise, the one shown at Fan Fest was Sam Mills’ interception that lead to the Carolina Panthers first win in franchise history. That was later followed by an interview with what the video called “One of Carolina’s favorite sons” and former QB Jake Delhomme. So we finally get to the action and some standouts were TEs Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson. Olsen caught many passes one handed and Dickson ran over DB Thomas DeCoud after which the stadium errupted in an “ooooh.” Later we got to see first hand how the Newton-Benjamin connection would look. Benjamin looked good, he kind of appeared to be showing off his leaping ability, but at least we know what to expect come Sundays this Septemeber. Kenjon Barner looked much improved in both rushing and receiving throughout the day. Cam Newton and Derek Anderson’s passes were a bit high at times, but Cam also just started practicing for the first time in a while and D.A. has been spotty at times through his career. Although worth the mention was D.A. threw a high pass directly towards a DB and WR Benton Bersin snatched it out of mid air. Bersin looks ready to be called up to the active roster, but we’ve been fooled this time of year before. This season looks to be exciting we kickoff a new generation of Panther players as we celebrate 20 amazing seasons.