Carolina Panthers

Dropping bombs, stretching for catches, more: 10 observations from Panthers OTAs

Carolina Panthers’ Torrey Smith discusses the NFL’s national-anthem policy

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith says the NFL has an opportunity to bring people together while talking about the league's new policy toward the national anthem.
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Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith says the NFL has an opportunity to bring people together while talking about the league's new policy toward the national anthem.

The Carolina Panthers' second week of organized team activities (OTAs) took place on a drizzly Tuesday morning at Bank of America Stadium.

Rain didn't slow down the practice, however, as some players made big plays and others put in a solid day of work. Retention of last week's installation periods and situational football drills were the main focus on Tuesday.

Ten observations from the day:

Panthers guard Trai Turner was absent, so backup Amini Silatolu took several snaps at right guard in team drills.

Julius Peppers was also absent as he continues to rehabilitate his shoulder after surgery this spring to repair a torn labrum.

At left guard, second-year player Taylor Moton and backup center Tyler Larsen rotated.

Starting center Ryan Kalil missed most of last season with a neck and shoulder injury. Tuesday, he looked healthier than he has in awhile and moved around well in sled and loose-ball drills.

Defensive tackle Vernon Butler and receiver Fred Ross worked on the side with athletic trainers through most of the two-hour practice.

Safety Colin Jones took a few snaps with the first-team defensive backfield, as did safety Da'Norris Searcy. Safeties Dezmen Southward and rookie Rashaan Gaulden worked with the second team. Gaulden had a pick-six in team drills.

Linebacker David Mayo took some snaps with the first-team defense in team drills, alongside Shaq Thompson. Mayo had a diving pass breakup in the end zone.

Receiver Damiere Byrd had two clutch catches in double coverage during team drills. Receiver Torrey Smith stretched for a touchdown catch in the back of the end zone during red zone drills. That got the offense chirping.

As he did all last year, running back Christian McCaffrey worked both at running back and pass-catcher out of the backfield. He also lined up in the slot at times.

Punter Michael Palardy worked on coffin-corner punts during the last 20 minutes of practice and prompted assistant special teams coach Heath Farwell to remark that Palardy was "dropping bombs." Kicker Graham Gano was asked by quarterback Cam Newton for "swaggy celebrations" after kicks during the 2018 season.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071; @jourdanrodrigue
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