Among the list of hopes coaches had for these Carolina Panthers-Buffalo Bills joint practices was the players learning from each other.
Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, known for his diagnostic approach, took full advantage Tuesday via a post-practice discussion with Bills quarterback Josh Allen. They talked through a specific play Buffalo ran, and apparently the discussion got quite involved.
“He said it’s a good concept,” Allen said. “We talked about the hardships (created) for a defense on a certain play and what can make that play not so great.”
There are plenty of reasons the Panthers and Bills came together in Spartanburg for two joint practices: To raise intensity and tempo, certainly. But also, since these teams don’t play each other in the regular season and are in different conferences, the coaches have encouraged an exchange of ideas.
The Bills’ quarterback hearing what Kuechly saw when Buffalo lined up, and Kuechly hearing from Allen what could disrupt that play, is mutually beneficial.
But coaches also wanted a little sense of mystery: The Panthers having to adjust to the Bills’ strategies and tendencies without scouting and a game plan, and vice versa.
“We don’t see each other on the schedule unless we meet up at the (Super Bowl),” Allen said. “We get to go against a really good defense and our defense gets to go against a really good offense.”
Allen said Kuechly’s cerebral reputation is deserved.
“Obviously, people view him as one of the smartest guys they’ve been around, football-wise,” Allen said, “and I can attest to that.”
Panthers rookie pass-rusher Brian Burns, Carolina’s first-round pick, is important enough that any injury seems like a big deal. Burns left practice midway through the session, limping with what looked like a right ankle injury.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after practice he had no updates on Burns or any other injuries.
Burns had two sacks in the Panthers’ first preseason game against the Chicago Bears, and has impressed from the start of training camp with his quick first step and length. Considering how cautious the Panthers have been about protecting key players from injury this preseason, it would be no surprise if Burns sits out Wednesday’s practice and possibly Friday’s preseason game at Bank of America Stadium against the Bills.
▪ Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel continues to make daily spectacular plays. Monday, he beat the Bills’ secondary for a long touchdown catch from Cam Newton. The pass had to be at least 50 yards in the air. With one day left in Spartanburg, Samuel would be the favorite for MVP of training camp.
▪ Newton was intercepted again in a goal-line situation, this time by the Bills’ Levi Wallace. While it seems like Newton, back from shoulder surgery, has been picked off a lot this training camp, that could be him testing where he can fit passes into windows, as opposed to simply making mistakes. Trial-and-error are part of the preseason process, particularly for a veteran quarterback secure as a starter.
▪ Panthers wide receiver Chris Hogan collided with a Bills videographer standing just beyond the pylon marking the back corner of the end zone. Hogan was angry, and with good reason; the photographer was too close to the playing surface for Hogan to slow down while pursuing a catch. The videographer was wearing a walking boot on her right foot before being run over. Her camera appeared to be damaged in the collision.
▪ Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz reached behind him for a touchdown catch in a goal-line drill. The Buffalo media covering these practices loved it because Manhertz is a local angle for them. He played college basketball for Canisius, located in Buffalo, before getting a football tryout in the NFL.