SPARTANBURG It could have been the heat.
It could have been the fact that his best receiver had the day off.
More likely, as Panthers coach Ron Rivera pointed out, Cam Newtons bad day was a combination of his timing and reads being a little off.
Newton threw two interceptions, and nearly a third Tuesday in his worst practice of training camp.
Newton, the Panthers franchise quarterback, was picked off on the first play of a team passing drill by cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who returned the interception for a touchdown.
Newton was looking for Armanti Edwards on an out route along the left sideline. But he didnt get enough zip on the ball, allowing Munnerlyn to break in front of Edwards.
Edwards, the former Appalachian State quarterback, worked a lot with the first team with Steve Smith getting the day off.
Munnerlyn almost had another pick on a poor throw by Newton, who has had a good camp before Tuesday. Linebacker Chase Blackburn had the other interception on a Newton pass across the middle.
He missed a couple of throws, he was a little bit late coming out (and) throwing to the sideline one time, Rivera said. And the other time, he made a secondary read and tried to come back to it. Hes going to have to speed that up. And those are things that will be corrected.
Newton and the rest of his teammates will get a 24-hour break, as mandated in the collective bargaining agreement. The Panthers will resume drills Thursday.
Rivera said he had hoped to see a couple of the other receivers step up in Smiths absence.
Secondary settling: Carolina expected to shuffle around its secondary this training camp, but after the third day in pads, it seems like the Panthers have settled on a group getting the majority of first-team reps.
Free safety Charles Godfrey entered camp as the only sure-fire starter in the defensive backfield, but Drayton Florence and Captain Munnerlyn have settled at first-team cornerbacks while Mike Mitchell has received the bulk of reps at strong safety lately.
I think some guys are getting more reps than others, and were still shuffling other players around, Rivera said. And we have made no definitive decisions on anything. We started out with D.J. (Campbell) at strong safety the first couple practices and now Mike Mitchell has been running with the first bunch.
Rivera also said Munnerlyn is in front of D.J. Moore at the nickel spot.
Two undrafted rookies the Panthers were high on in the spring havent done much in camp. Melvin White has mostly been running with the third-team cornerbacks while Rivera said Tuesday that former Alabama starter Robert Lester has seemed to hit a training camp rookie wall and that the break came at a good time for the strong safety.
Camp incentive: Panthers players were able to go home early Tuesday afternoon instead of much later after Graham Gano nailed a pressure-packed 50-yard field goal at the end of practice.
Rivera made a deal with the players: If Gano makes the kick, they get to go home early. If he misses, they have to stick around for a second meeting later Tuesday.
The team gathered around Gano in a horseshoe formation and little was said before Gano booted the ball through the uprights, much to his teams delight.
It was great to see him come through for his teammates, and I expect hell get an opportunity to come through for us during the season, Rivera said.
Rivera also wanted to keep his players spirits and energy high to start practice, so he had the team circle at the middle of the practice field and pulled three defensive tackles and three offensive guards to face off after stretching.
That was about a little energy, he said. You get to a certain point in training camp, things drag a little bit. So we did a little one-on-one with our pass rush.
Rosario waived: The Panthers bulked up their tight ends position with a new addition Tuesday.
Carolina signed former University of North Carolina tight end and third-year player Zack Pianalto, while waiving Nelson Rosario, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.
Rosario spent all of the 2012 season on the Panthers roster, but Rivera said recently he liked Rosario as a pass-catcher but he struggled to hold up at the point of attack.
At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Pianalto brings both size and pass-catching abilities to the Panthers tight end group. He grabbed four passes for 40 yards for Tampa Bay in 2011, appearing in 13 games for the Bucs.
Greg Olsen and Ben Hartsock are 1-2 on the Panthers depth chart at the position, and Pianalto figures to compete with undrafted rookie Brandon Williams at No. 3. Williams has shown great athleticism, but the former basketball player has struggled at times this camp with being in the right spot at the right time.
• Ben Jacobs had a nice strip of Armond Smith during third-team reps. Mike Mitchell recovered the fumble and then got into a yelling match with a defensive lineman before going back to the line.
• With an emphasis on hydration, like every training camp in Spartanburg, Steve Smith took it upon himself on his veterans day off to do his part and hauled a Gatorade cooler to his receiver brethren during a break.
• Newton and Domenik Hixon havent really been on the same page much this camp, but Newton found the former Giant across the middle in stride in one of Newtons better plays Tuesday.
• During a special teams drill, DeAngelo Williams wandered over and apparently asked to go up against Captain Munnerlyn. The smaller Munnerlyn held his own, and veteran linebacker Thomas Davis yelled at Williams, Be careful what you ask for, homie!
• There was a pretty good crowd at camp to be a weekday morning. Panthers president Danny Morrison estimated the crowd to be between 3,000-4,000.
• Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh tweaked his back earlier this camp and has been sidelined since. Rivera said Gaydosh will have an MRI this week.
3 questions with G Geoff Hangartner
Q: You play a lot of golf. Whats your handicap and whens the last time you played?
Like 7 something. I played Sunday before we came to camp.
Q: Whats in your bag?
I hit a Nike driver, a TaylorMade 5 wood and hybrid. TaylorMade Burner irons, Cleveland wedges and a Scotty Cameron putter. Thats the most expensive club in my bag. I dont pay full price for my golf clubs, except for a putter.
Q: Why not full price?
I buy last years version. Whereas its 500 bucks, its 200 bucks and so I stay a year behind the times. I figure it doesnt change that much year to year, and Id rather buy a $200 club that I find out I dont really like and want to change it out than buy a $500 club and decide I want to change it out. Because if I buy it for that much, Im going to hit it for at least two years. If its $200 and I dont like it, I can replace it.
Getting to know
WR DALE MOSS
Weight: 213 pounds
College: South Dakota St.
NFL experience: 1 year
The scoop: He played just one year of football in college before being signed as an undrafted rookie by Green Bay. Hes bounced around some teams but has a big vertical (41 1/2 inches) and a long stride. He still needs to show something this camp to hang around for the practice squad, though.
Twitter handle: @DaleMoss
Recent tweet: running alone dont get ya body right. You gotta lift too #ladies #squat #lift #work #randomthought #everybody #clocksrunning #health
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less