Falcons HC Arthur Smith believes that strong play from the center position is paramount to establishing what he wants to do on offense.
“I saw Ben Jones help change the culture at Tennessee,” Smith said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “You want a guy who can anchor the middle. Obviously, you have to be able to block the guy, but we want to see that presence as well.”
Smith explains that presence doesn’t only mean physically imposing, but being able to make calls at the line of scrimmage and pick up on defensive schemes quickly.
“Sometimes the best call is a decisive call. It’s a complicated game up front, the way these defenses are going,” Smith said. “Those are the games within the game, the protection games. As long as we’ve got all 11 (doing the same thing), we’ve got a chance. What you can’t have is the hesitancy. That’s part of what you’re looking for in the command.”
“It sounds like a cliche, but I’m really focused on what I need to do that day to get 1 percent better and help the team win,” Dalman said. “Whatever that looks like, frankly, I don’t care. I just want us to win.”
The Panthers executed a unique trade early last season, sending a third-round pick and TE Dan Arnold to the Jaguars for CB C.J. Henderson and a fifth-round pick. Henderson was a former top-ten pick, but he’d fallen out of favor after just a season in Jacksonville. He didn’t fare much better after the trade but so far with an offseason to get his feet under him in Carolina, he’s been standing out as a potential starter.
“In OTAs this spring, I think you saw his personality emerge. What does that matter? Well, it just means he was comfortable. And I think you saw him really compete to the level he was allowed to,” Panthers HC Matt Rhule said via The Athletic’s Joe Person. “And I think so far this camp he’s been really, really, really good. He does some things every day that not many people can do just athletically. He’s healthy, which is a big deal for a young player like that.”
- Henderson was impressed with how Panthers DB coach Steve Wilks reached out to him to invite him for dinner upon taking the job: “In the NFL you don’t really build real relationships with coaches. So having dinner with him was very different for me. That was a big thing for me.”
- He also is feeling better from the shoulder injury he played through last season: “I’m not sure when it popped up, but it was definitely a tough task last year. On and off I had to rehab that a lot. But I’m recovered now 100 percent, so it’s all good.”
“He’s been great. See him out here, (it’s) slowed down mentally, but physically, being able to do all the things that you want,” Kupp said, via Rams Wire. “He’s flying around, making some tough plays. I think there’s just a little bit of that growth that you have to go through. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the whole season last year, but there’s that growth you have to go through, matching the physicality of what this game is. I think he’s done a really good job stepping up to the plate to this point. There’s all of camp left and I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to grow in that role.”