Carolina Panthers

Panthers' minicamp: Ron Rivera weighs in on Dontari Poe; TE Chris Manhertz carted off

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera on DT Dontari Poe

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks about defensive tackle Dontari Poe after the second day of the Panthers minicamp on June 13.
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Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks about defensive tackle Dontari Poe after the second day of the Panthers minicamp on June 13.

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera had jokes Wednesday after the second of three scheduled minicamp practices.

When Rivera was asked about Dontari Poe, the 346-pound defensive tackle acquired during the offseason, he said: “He’s fitting in very well. It’s a very snug fit.”

Poe, a two-time Pro Bowler who was Kansas City’s first-round pick in 2012, can earn $500,000 in bonuses for meeting certain weight goals throughout his three-year, $27 million deal with Carolina.

Intentionally or not, Rivera also said he expects Poe to be a “big part” of the Panthers’ defense. But Rivera then mentioned Poe probably weighed less than his listed weight.

“The guy works very hard,” Rivera said. “He’s a professional, and I really do think he’ll come in and be ready to roll.”

Backup tight end Chris Manhertz was carted in for precautionary X-rays on his left foot, which he rolled during team passing drills. Manhertz, a former basketball player at Canisius, gave teammates a thumbs-up as he left the field.

Wide receiver Curtis Samuel, coming off November ankle surgery, was held out after a high-intensity practice Tuesday. No. 1 wideout Devin Funchess was treated for lower leg cramps late in the two-hour session.

Another day, another big play by former Broncos cornerback Lorenzo Doss, who broke on an intermediate pass by Taylor Heinicke and picked it off. Doss has impressed coaches with his ball skills, although Rivera pointed out that “right now there’s no consequences when you can play and you can kind of cut it loose.”

Rivera said it will be interesting to see whether Doss keeps making plays at training camp, during which big gains resulting from a gambling defensive back are magnified.

After making an appearance during Tuesday’s first minicamp practice, defensive end Julius Peppers stayed inside Bank of America Stadium for conditioning. Safety Mike Adams was excused for a family commitment.

Rookie safety Rashaan Gaulden, a third-round pick from Tennessee, broke up a Cam Newton pass and knocked down slot receiver Jarius Wright in the process. TE Jason Vander Laan and WR Mose Frazier dropped passes when the second- and third-team offenses were working on red-zone plays.

One change this spring: Rap music is played throughout practice — albeit from speakers that are set up more than 100 yards away from where most of the team drills take place. Based on the Panthers' Twitter feed, Newton has been the player responsible for getting the music started this week.

In previous years, coaches would have the tunes cut off following stretching, although Rivera said the change happened organically.

“I just forgot to have them turn it off, to be honest with you,” he said. “They moved it so far away from me, so I don’t turn around and yell and expect someone to turn it off. That’s why we practice on the far field, because it’s not as bad down there.

“If we can’t handle that and we can’t handle when people come out to watch practice, how we gonna handle 75,000 screaming fans at B of A Stadium?”

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson
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