Quick look at first day of Panthers minicamp
The Carolina Panthers began their last phase of their offseason workouts on a weirdly chilly Tuesday morning at Bank of America Stadium.
Minicamp does not differ much from organized team activities, which were held throughout May and early June, except in one way: Players can be fined for missing workouts, as opposed to the voluntary OTAs.
No Panthers players missed Tuesday's session.
Ten items of note from the day:
▪ Right guard Trai Turner was back at practice after missing OTAs last week with a sore knee. At left guard, the competition will continue between Amini Silatolu and Taylor Moton.
▪ Veteran defensive end Julius Peppers worked on the side with athletic trainers. He will continue to rehabilitate his shoulder, on which he had labrum repair surgery this spring. Defensive tackle Drew Iddings did not practice with a sore back, but a source told the Observer he will be fine by training camp.
▪ Receiver Devin Funchess made the play of the day, and provided a candidate for play of the week. In double coverage against cornerback Kevon Seymour and safety Rashaan Gaulden, Funchess stretched for a long pass from quarterback Cam Newton, and held on to it as he went to the ground. The play got everyone yelling, and prompted Newton to high-step down the field in celebration.
▪ Receivers Curtis Samuel, Jarius Wright and D.J. Moore are especially showing their speed and body-control during drills, in which their precision as route-runners is on display.
▪ Samuel continues to rehabilitate his surgically repaired ankle, but got in on team drills and blew past his coverage on a little dump-off pass that would have gone for a touchdown in a contact situation.
▪ Cornerback Lorenzo Doss has had a great spring so far. He got some snaps in the first-team rotation and broke up a Newton pass intended for running back Christian McCaffrey.
▪ Head coach Ron Rivera rotated his corner-safety and corner-corner combinations rapidly and frequently as he tests for retention and chemistry. The starting cornerback job opposite James Bradberry appears to be Seymour's to lose, with the Panthers hopeful that Donte Jackson continues to grow and compete on the outside. Ross Cockrell looks like he'll provide depth behind Bradberry rather than start opposite him, as their skill sets are similar. However, there's a long way to go until September.
▪ With Peppers out, Wes Horton got first-team snaps at defensive end.
▪ Linebacker David Mayo is taking first-team snaps in team drills with Luke Kuechly still rehabilitating his surgically repaired shoulder. Mayo had a diving pick of a Newton pass early in the session that got the defense fired up.
▪ Anna Cockrell, sister of Panthers cornerback Ross Cockrell, ran a leg for the USC 4x400 relay team that had an incredible comeback victory to take the national title over the weekend. Rivera joked that if he sees that Anna can catch the ball, he'd sign her up to play receiver because "we'll take the speed, that's for sure."
"I'll tell you what though," Rivera added seriously of the race, which went viral on social media, "you watch that, and the message there is really that it's never how you start, but how you finish."