The Panthers notebook …
SPARTANBURG, S.C. ó Hunter Cantwell had to be patient at Louisville. The fourth-string quarterback is willing to wait his turn with the Panthers, too.
Cantwell said Wednesday he “just wants to stay in Carolina,” even if that means a spot on the practice squad for the undrafted rookie. Cantwell is behind Jake Delhomme, Josh McCown and Matt Moore on the depth chart.
“If that’s a roster spot, that’s probably unlikely, but if it’s on the practice squad, great,” Cantwell said. “I feel like I’ve got a chance to be good here.”
Cantwell’s pro debut in Monday’s exhibition against the New York Giants put him in the middle of a bizarre finish.
Cantwell was perfect in a hurry-up drive, going 5-for-5 for 63 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jason Cherry with 57 seconds left. Cantwell then connected with Andrew Davie on the tying 2-point conversion.
“That’s a great time to click,” Cantwell said. “Basically you have third- and fourth-string guys in there and to be able to execute, and I think that’s the big thing the coaches wanted to see.”
But after getting the ball back in the closing seconds, Cantwell was hit from the blind side, lost the ball and Tommie Hill returned it 18 yards for the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Still, it was a good start for Cantwell, who played behind Brian Brohm at Louisville until his senior year, which ended in disappointment. Cantwell had as many interceptions (16) as touchdowns and the Cardinals went 5-7.
The 6-foot-4 Cantwell shortened his long throwing motion in the offseason, and his arm strength and size has impressed the Panthers.
“I think he has taken to our system pretty well and made some good throws under pressure the other night,” coach John Fox said.
Cantwell is hoping to produce enough to stick around for the season.
“I’ve been very surprised with the amount of attention I’ve been given and how many reps I’ve been given,” Cantwell said. “Usually the fourth guy doesn’t sniff the field, but I’ve been able to get a lot of reps in almost every drill that we’ve run.”
INJURIES: Receiver Steve Smith did his first 11-on-11 work, without contact, in the morning practice as he recovers from a bruised right shoulder that kept him out of Monday’s game. Later in the workout Smith took off his shoulder pads and was examined by trainer Ryan Vermillion.
“He tweaked his shoulder a little bit. It’s not a setback or anything like that,” Fox said. “It hurt a little bit and we rested him.”
Running back Mike Goodson couldn’t finish the morning practice after getting kicked in the leg. Fox said Goodson, who rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown Monday while fumbling twice, suffered only a bruise.
Running back Jonathan Stewart missed another practice with pain in his left Achilles’ tendon. His most strenuous action was playing catch with Jake Delhomme between drills.
“The arm still works,” Fox yelled to Stewart.
Linebackers Thomas Davis (knee) and Landon Johnson (groin), safety Nate Salley (knee) and guard C.J. Davis (ankle) were also out.
DT SHUFFLE: There was a minor shuffle Wednesday at defensive tackle, Carolina’s biggest area of concern.
Nick Hayden continued to work some with the starters, but he shared snaps with undrafted rookie Marlon Favorite. Hayden, who struggled defending the run against the Giants, also had some work with the second team.
The Panthers continue to look for help in replacing Maake Kemoeatu, who was lost for the season with a torn right Achilles’ tendon in the first practice of camp.
BARNIDGE STICKS: Gary Barnidge tried to downplay his move to first-string tight end earlier in camp. But the 2008 fifth-round pick has stuck there ahead of last year’s starter, Jeff King.
Barnidge had two catches for eight yards against the Giants Monday.
“I’m trying to work on my techniques on blocking because I don’t want to be known as one-dimensional,” said Barnidge, considered Carolina’s best pass-catching tight end. “I don’t want to be known as just a receiver or just a blocker, I want to be both. And I’m working on my separation on routes.”
King had the best catch of Wednesday’s morning workout, a one-handed grab behind his body. Dante Rosario is the third tight end.
“We’re still in preseason so everybody is still getting their looks,” Barnidge said.
EXTRA POINTS: Count G Keydrick Vincent among the folks who have bought a ticket for the $250 million Powerball jackpot. “I don’t need it, but I’ll take it,” Vincent said. … The Panthers hold their final workout at Wofford College Thursday at 3:10 p.m. They play at Miami Saturday.