SPARTANBURG After dealing with heat and humidity through the first week of training camp, the Panthers got a soaking rain during their two-hour practice Tuesday at Wofford.
Rain fell throughout the workout, but it didnt dampen a spirited session.
Work in the rain was pretty good, coach Ron Rivera said. I mentioned to the guys that last year when we were getting ready for the Jacksonville game we practiced three straight days in bad weather.
It rained three straight days and it was to our benefit. We played in a game where there was a huge deluge and we didnt turn the ball over.
Its all part of the game. You practice in the elements. You play in the elements. I thought we handled it pretty well.
The Panthers spent a significant portion of practice working on red-zone situations. The contact also led to a few minor scuffles but nothing major.
It got a little chippy, Rivera said. Its good and bad. You want to see guys fighting and competing but at the same time you want to be smart and take care of their teammates.
Authorized stealing: Among the initiatives designed to improve the defense this year is a heightened focus on takeaways. The Panthers had 24 last season, one more than they had giveaways.
On every play from scrimmage, defensive players are encouraged to strip the ball from their teammates.
We will continue to work on that, improve on that at every opportunity we get, Rivera said. The positive that comes from working on takeaways is getting the ball back. It also forces the offensive guys to keep in mind theyve got to protect the ball.
Ive told those guys that even though I blow the whistle, the defensive guys are allowed to cover over and punch it free at any time. Its a mentality Sean (McDermott) and I had in Philadelphia. Its a mentality I had in Chicago. Were going to continue that.
Injury update: Rookie cornerback Josh Norman did not participate in practice Tuesday morning after suffering a hamstring injury Monday.
Its still sore. Its not as bad as previously thought so well treat it day by day, Rivera said.
Linebacker Thomas Davis, recovering from his third ACL surgery, was given a second straight practice off. Rivera said Davis was sore and the decision was made to keep him out another day.
Defensive tackle Ron Edwards was given the day off as a precautionary measure.
• Rivera praised undrafted rookie defensive tackle Nate Chandler for his performance in camp. Chandler converted from tight end to defense after two years at UCLA.
The Panthers have 24 hours to relax. Under rules of the collective-bargaining agreement, they were released at 2 p.m. and will return for meetings at 2 p.m. Wednesday
• If youre planning to attend practice Friday, it has been shifted to a 3:30 p.m. start to allow the team to return to Charlotte for the FanFest event Saturday at Bank of America Stadium. The Friday workout originally was scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
• Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of fans showed up to watch the morning practice. Not only did the weather work against them, the Panthers did most of their practicing on the field farthest away from the fans.
• Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly continued his impressive play with two pass break-ups near the goal line during a red-zone drill.
THREE QUESTIONS WITH .
Rookie defensive end
Q: How do you see your role here?
Just to come out and work hard every day. Play up to my ability and make plays wherever I can make plays. Hold myself accountable.
Im going to give my all every play. Thats what Im trying to bring to the table. Hopefully, they see that in me and we go from there.
Q: Whats been the biggest adjustment moving from college football at Oklahoma to the NFL?
Just realizing its not college any more. Its a business and you have to come in and work every day and stay consistent. Any given time could be your last practice, your last game, your last whatever. You just have to take every opportunity and run with it.
Q: Would you rather practice in the rain like Tuesday or in the hot weather?
It doesnt make no difference. At the end of the day, you know youre going to be out there tired. Youve just got to do what you do, play hard and fight through it.
GETTING TO KNOW
Running back Lyndon Rowells
Height: 5-foot-9. Weight: 215
College: Humboldt State
NFL experience: Signed as an undrafted free agent.
The scoop: Rowells has the opportunity to add depth to the running game. He has gotten his share of carries through the early days of camp, looking to impress the coaching staff with his speed and low center of gravity.
Bet you didnt know: Rowells attended three colleges College of the Redwoods, Midwestern State and Humboldt State.