SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Here are five observations on the Carolina Panthers, gleaned from the training camp practices of July 31 and Aug. 1:
1. Because of the hamstring injury sustained by wide receiver Steve Smith, a tweak with which Panthers officials will err on the side of caution, we weren't able to see what kind of synergy has developed between the guy who won the NFL's receiving triple crown in 2005 and newcomer Keyshawn Johnson. Coaches and teammates insist the two worked well together in the spring, but there is still a curiosity level we wish we could have addressed. On paper, it's a good fit, the big-play threat and the solid and savvy possession receiver. Unfortunately, games aren't played on paper.
The Smith-Johnson coupling is going to be an interesting dynamic, as is the manner in which quarterback Jake Delhomme works with his two starters. Given his ball distribution the past two seasons -- with Muhsin Muhammad dominating the receiving statistics in 2004, then Smith accounting for 38.3 percent of the completions last year -- there is a suspicion in some NFL quarters that Delhomme is a tunnel-vision quarterback. His critics contend that Delhomme locks on to one receiver too much. Time will tell.