There was a scary moment in Saturday’s Carolina Panthers training camp when starting right tackle Daryl Williams went down with an apparent non-contact right knee injury about halfway through practice.
Williams had to be carted off the field as players wished him well.
Afterward, quarterback Cam Newton spoke to media and touched on Williams’ injury.
“Just shock,” he said of his reaction to seeing Williams get hurt. “I’m extremely optimistic right now just knowing that, I hope we are overreacting. You never want to see a player like that go down. ...(He) has done such an exceptional job of battling to get the credit that he has deserved, the notoriety this past year and coming into his own this year. You hate to see certain things like that. But I believe that everything will be all right, hoping everything will be all right.”
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But the practice had to continue as scheduled. Second-year tackle/guard Taylor Moton stepped into Williams’ spot at right tackle as the team concluded its first padded practice of the season.
▪ Linebacker Luke Kuechly wore his Q Collar to the full-contact practice, an experimental device he began wearing last year that studies have shown helps reduce the brain trauma that results from impact to the head.
▪ Penn State undrafted free agent guard Brendan Mahon was selected to battle rookie seventh-round defensive tackle Kendrick Norton in the first “Oklahoma Drill” of the year — though coach Ron Rivera later slyly remarked the team was simply meeting in the middle of the field.
▪ Mahon also took a snap at left guard with the first team, before rejoining the second team. Amini Silatolu has taken most of the first-team snaps at the position.
▪ Rookie corner Donte Jackson had a couple of nice plays. He was beaten by rookie receiver D.J. Moore once in a one-on-one drill, but made up ground and knocked down a pass that was a little underthrown by Newton.
▪ Offensive and defensive linemen battled each other in one-on-one drills. At one point, third-year defensive tackle Vernon Butler went up against right guard Trai Turner, who put him on the ground twice. Things got a little chippy as the two headed back to the line.
▪ Cornerback Lorenzo Doss continued his streak of pass breakups Saturday, this time with a dive across the middle on a pass intended for tight end Jason Vander Laan.
▪ Rookie linebacker Andre Smith popped a ball loose on a carry and then recovered it, drawing praise from Kuechly.
▪ Running back Cameron Artis-Payne showed some fancy footwork to avoid a few tackles and sprinted up the sideline as the crowd cheered.
▪ Receivers Torrey Smith and Moore and running back Christian McCaffrey all took turns on punt-return drills.
▪ Jackson and rookie safety Rashaan Gaulden began a team session with the first string. The Panthers were in nickel, and Captain Munnerlyn was on the field as the starter.
▪ Second-year fullback/tight end Alex Armah began the day with the tight ends, but took a carry up the middle early in the practice.
▪ Greg Van Roten botched a shotgun snap, prompting Rivera to bellow, “Can’t have it! Can’t have it!”
▪ Newton scrambled on a play and took the ball 50 yards, much to the delight of the crowd.
▪ Cornerback James Bradberry had two pass breakups and drew hearty praise from Rivera after practice.
▪ Newton also noticed a man wearing an Atlanta Falcons jersey (No. 11, receiver Julio Jones), and marched up to a police officer on the sideline, jokingly pointing at the man as if he wanted the officer to escort him out. The crowd booed the man, who was laughing along with Newton.
▪ Newton also called new offensive coordinator Norv Turner “Boogie approved.”