Carolina Panthers

Panthers Fan Fest practice highlights: Harmony restored. New twists on offense?

Quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen were not on the same page Thursday at Wofford, where they couldn’t quite connect on a couple of passes.

But they were in sync at Friday’s Fan Fest, where Olsen was hauling in passes all over the field.

Olsen wasn’t worried about Thursday’s showing, saying linebacker Luke Kuechly had done a nice job breaking up one of the passes and pointing out that he and Newton have had a strong training camp under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

“We’ve caught a lot of balls this camp, probably as many as we ever have. We’ve caught a lot of balls over the years. So we have a good feel for each other,” Olsen said after the practice.

“I feel like it’s been one of our better camps we’ve had, personally, collectively as an offense,” he added. “It’s been fun to go through the whole process and see what kind of new little twists (Turner) can put on the offense.”

The Panthers are off Saturday before returning to Spartanburg on Sunday for an afternoon practice.

Friday night was also the Christian McCaffrey Show, with the running back scoring five touchdowns. However, to be fair, if full contact were allowed he might have run into a couple of brick walls during his path to the end zone courtesy of the Panthers’ first-team defense.

Fans hoping to see a new Panthers logo unveiled at midfield instead were greeted by ... nothing. Former owner Jerry Richardson had the NFL shield at midfield throughout his tenure as a gesture for the league awarding the Carolinas an expansion franchise. But several members of the team’s public relations staff retweeted a picture this week of new owner David Tepper walking through a logo-less midfield, with comments hinting at a possible change.

The lead-up continued following Friday’s practice with a videotaped message from Newton imploring Tepper to put the Panthers’ logo at midfield. The Panthers’ first preseason home game is Aug. 17 vs. Miami.

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New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper makes an appearance at Friday’s Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium. Jourdan Rodrigue jrodrigue@charlotteobserver.com

Tepper was on the sideline during Fan Fest. But — like the opening-night practice at Wofford — he did not address fans or media. He did, however, bring his dog and interacted quite a bit with fans. Funnily enough, the Panthers’ new owner had to wear a credential to get onto the field, prompting head coach Ron Rivera to joke after the practice that Tepper would soon start to be recognized by personnel around the building.

It was a decent turnout for the annual public practice, but not as big as previous Fan Fest crowds. This could have been due to the heavy downpours in some areas around Charlotte — or the $5 admission fee.

No. 1 wideout Devin Funchess fired up the crowd with an NBA All-Star game-type move. Funchess pulled in a Newton pass and — as a defender reached to try to punch the ball out — flipped it behind his back to switch hands and take off downfield. It was probably his best play of training camp so far.

Rookie TE Ian Thomas only had a couple of drops during the first week at Spartanburg. He almost had another during the first segment of team drills, before making a juggling catch on a Newton pass between reserve safeties Colin Jones and Damian Parms.

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