Today, the Panthers went ahead and put defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu on Injured Reserve (IR).
In case you're wondering why the Panthers realistically can't and shouldn't put Kemoeatu on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, the reasoning is quite simple.
If you put a player on PUP, he can attend team meetings and rehab on his own, but he cannot practice with the team. A player on the PUP list does not count against the active roster.
Add to that, PUP can only be used during training camp. A player can be activated off the PUP at anytime during training camp, but once the season starts he has to remain on PUP until Week Six.
Between Weeks Seven and Nine, the player can practice with the team or be activated from PUP, but after Week Nine the player has to either be activated from PUP or placed on IR for the rest of the year. Considering the extent of Kemoeatu's injury and the amount of recovery time, placing him on PUP is not a feasible option.
By placing Kemoeatu on IR, he is guaranteed his base salary, minus any bonuses and performance-based clauses. And no, the Panthers do not get a break in the salary cap while Kemoeatu is on IR.
In light of placing Kemoeatu on IR, the Panthers signed undrafted rookie free agent George Hypolite out of Colorado to take Kemoeatu's empty roster spot.
Hypolite stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 299 pounds. He's definitely nowhere near the size of run-stuffing Kemo, but the Panthers need guys now—especially since defensive coordinator Ron Meeks likes to consistently rotate the defensive players.
Meanwhile, defensive tackles Damione Lewis and Nick Hayden continued to handle first-team duties in place of Kemoeatu.
Linebacker Jon Beason also watched from the sidelines today. Dan Connor continued to learn among the starters and has filled in nicely while Beason rests that sore hamstring.
In their third day of camp, the Panthers saw a lot of good things from the offense, which returns all of last year's 11 starters.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson has added some new plays to the offense. No time has been spent on fundamentals and techniques for the first time in two or three years.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme admitted that the Panthers have indeed installed a few new plays, adding that quantity is not always better than quality.
"Our backs are great and they're healthy. If we can do our jobs, we should have an outstanding season as an offensive unit. I say that not out of cockiness, and so we know what to all expect," said offensive tackle Jordan Gross.
One of Davidson's new plays is is a "combo" drill, where cornerbacks and safeties faced off against running backs, fullbacks, and tight ends.
In the first portion of the drill, the offensive players ran routes. In the second part, they stayed in the backfield to block.
Rookie running back Mike Goodson quickly gained separation on his man during the receiving half of the drill and later held off James Anderson during the blocking phase.
Goodson, who is a good 23 pounds lighter than Anderson (who had a running start), battled Anderson to a stalemate after regaining his footing.
Running back DeAngelo Williams remains the No. 1 running back. He's picked up where he left off a year ago, taking off through holes in the line.
Rookie quarterback Hunter Cantwell gained some notice today when he hooked up with receiver Jason Carter, who returns from a torn ACL suffered last season. Carter then drew the fans' attention when he put a spin move on rookie defensive back Captain Munnerlyn in the open field after hauling in a long bomb from Cantwell.
Also, third-year receiver Dwayne Jarrett caught a couple nice passes today.
On special teams, Panthers punt returner Kenneth Moore and receivers Larry Beavers and Ryne Robinson are looking good as the team's punt returners. Robinson missed today's practice however, due to a team decision to sideline him.
Rookie J.J. Jansen is working as the first-team long snapper for Carolina ahead of rookie Nick Sundberg.
On defense, safety Quinton Teal and defensive back Dante Wesley both had an interception apiece during seven-on-seven drills this morning.
Tomorrow the Panthers have one practice at 3:10 p.m.
WR Ryne Robinson (Team decision)
G Duke Robinson (Heat exhaustion), Did not practice today.
LB Thomas Davis (Knee) Probable
G C.J. Davis (Leg), Did not practice today; day-to-day
MLB Jon Beason (Hamstring), did not practice today; day-to-day
DT Maake Kemoeatu (Achilles tendon) Out; Injured Reserve