Carolina Panthers Retrospective
Gross: Panthers players have installed a good portion of the offense during private workouts E-mail
Written by Steve Reed   
Wednesday, 08 June 2011 16:50

Jimmy Clausen has been one of the players participating in team workouts the last two weeks. (AP Photo)

The Carolina Panthers will wrap up two weeks of player-run workouts Thursday morning at Charlotte Christian High School and the media will get its first sneak peek at some of what they’ve been working on during the NFL lockout.
   Jordan Gross, who helped organize and pay for the event along with fellow offensive lineman Travelle Wharton, called the workouts “incredibly successful.”
   “We worked a lot on the playbook and we got of lot of work in with installing the new offense,” Gross said Wednesday. “We’re not where we would be if we had coaches working with us, but the guys will be walk away with a good familiarity of the playbook and some of the things we plan to do this season.”
   The Panthers coaching staff distributed playbooks to select players during the period in which the lockout was temporarily lifted in April, a few days before the NFL draft.
   The Panthers made copies of those playbooks and worked on those during practice and afterwards in team meetings. With a new coaching staff, the Panthers are installing new schemes on offense and defense, which automatically puts them behind teams with returning coaching staffs.
   The practices and meetings lasted roughly three to four hours per day.
   Gross said he was extremely pleased with the participation. He said at least 45 players showed up at every practice and almost every player on the roster made an appearance at one point or another, something Gross believes reflects the team’s desire to turn things around quickly after a 2-14 season a year ago.
   There were more than 50 players at most practices.
   “Almost everybody you can think of showed up at least one day,” Gross said, although he refrained from naming names to protect the privacy of those who decided not to attend because of varying contract situations.
   “We were very well represented.”
   The Charlotte Observer reported earlier this week wide receiver Steve Smith has not attended practices because his wife has been ill.
   The workouts have been closed to the public and the media.
   However, the Panthers will open up Thursday morning for about 45 minutes.
   Along with Gross and Wharton, quarterback Cam Newton, linebacker Jon Beason and punter Jason Baker will be made available for interviews.
   Gross said a good portion of workouts were focused on conditioning with a lot of “old school, strong man type of drills,” including hitting sledgehammers on the tires.
   “We did a lot of real unconventional things and I think it went really well,” said Gross, who hired the Charlotte-based fitness company Velocity Sports Performance to help with run the conditioning aspect of the program.
   Perhaps as much as anything, the workouts offered teammates a chance to bond and develop some camaraderie.
   “It gave guys a chance to touch base and get to know each other,” Gross said. “I think it was a real success.”
   COACHES TOUR WOFFORD: In other news, head coach Ron Rivera and some of his coaching staff toured Wofford College on Wednesday to look over the team's training camp facilities. Of course, whether or not the Panthers end up practiciing at Wofford this summer depends on whether the lockout is lifted. If there is no deal in place by August, look for the Panthers to scrap it and practice in Charlotte.