Team goes crazy after lineman Dontari Poe makes catch
The Carolina Panthers held their final practice of training camp at Wofford College on Monday, and almost everyone was in the spirit.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess and defensive back Donte Jackson were heard doing their best Allen Iverson impression: “We talkin’ bout practice!”
Running back Christian McCaffrey stopped to sign autographs beforehand.
“Catch me now,” he told fans, “because as soon as that horn blows (to end practice), I’m outta here.”
And before the workout, sources close to the team said coach Ron Rivera might cut practice short if a lineman could cut catch a punt.
Not everyone, however, was playing along. In that group was run game coordinator John Matsko, who was heard chewing his guys out from across the field.
After all, pretty soon the games will count.
What else we saw:
Participation and roster notes
▪ Defensive tackle Kyle Love, who tweaked his elbow on Sunday, seemed to be fine. He was wearing a small brace.
▪ Cornerback Corn Elder returned, but Ladarius Gunter remains in the concussion protocol.
▪ Center-guard Tyler Larsen was still out with a hyperextended elbow.
▪ Brendan Mahon got first-team left guard reps Monday. Greg Van Roten was in at right guard during a brief Trai Turner absence from the field (he returned).
▪ Fan to Greg Olsen: “You’re a lot better than Gronkowski!” Olsen: “Yeah bud. You hear that Joe Person?”
▪ Punt returners: McCaffrey, Moore, Barner ... and a lineman to be named.
▪ Wide receiver Rasheed Bailey brought some early energy on special teams. He beat his man twice, and although you can’t block the punt in practice, he would have had a shot. And he yells to teammate Alex Armah “you see that Alex? You see that?!?”
▪ The lineman’s punt return opportunity came early, with Rivera asking who the return guy will be. Center Ryan Kalil immediately points to Moton. With a big smile, Rivera selects defensive tackle Dontari Poe and Moton.
▪ Olsen yelled “my car is running!!” And ... both Poe and Moton made the catch on the first try.
▪ Loud boos could be heard when Rivera announced practice would continue. He does, however, plan to cut a half hour off the length.
▪ Spartanburg restaurant Wade’s put in the work with the plane towing banners during training camp. Monday’s message: “Keep Pounding — veggies!” (Solid advice.)
▪ Defensive back Alex Carter, who joined the team Sunday, got an interception of Cam Newton in his second practice. Newton finished with four interceptions — including Jackson’s second in as many days.
▪ Defensive back Lorenzo Doss broke up a ball and he reaaaaaaally wanted to intercept. He literally started howling after it bounced off his hands.
▪ Curtis Samuel had a terrific catch down the sideline on a deep ball from Taylor Heinicke, who was taking second-team QB reps. Must have been 40 yards in the air. Then he made a couple on the opposite side.
▪ The first-team defense made communication a point of emphasis Monday, as everyone is going half speed. Lots of pre-snap adjustments called by linebacker Luke Kuechly and safety Mike Adams.
▪ Meanwhile, on the far field at Wofford, as he has done all camp, tight end Chris Manhertz (surgery for Jones fracture in his foot) is running, rehabbing, trying to get back for Week 1.
▪ The “wow” play of the day, other than linemen returning punts, goes to wide receiver Jamaal Jones on a crazy, leaping sideline grab.
▪ And that’s a wrap on training camp.