Observations from Thursday’s Carolina Panthers OTA practice:
▪ Nickel corner Colin Jones made a great read to intercept Newton after getting beaten on the same play in Tuesday’s practice. Jones anticipated the slant route, leaped in front of Newton’s pass and ran down the sideline with Newton giving chase.
Jones, one of the fastest players on the team, said Newton would not have caught him in a game.
▪ No reporters were around to witness it, but secondary coach Steve Wilks was still raving Thursday about cornerback Josh Norman’s pass breakup from Wednesday’s practice. Wilks said Norman stretched out to knock away a Newton pass to Corey Brown on a post route.
“Philly had the ball in his hand and Josh just laid out as he did against Cleveland (last season) and made a great play,” Wilks said. “I haven’t seen a play like that in the National Football League in my 10 years.”
Wilks believes Norman is on the verge of becoming one of the top corners in the league.
▪ Wilks, named assistant head coach in February, ran practice Thursday while Ron Rivera was in California for his daughter Courtney’s graduation from UCLA this weekend. Rivera is expected back in the office Monday.
▪ Defensive end Frank Alexander, who has been getting a lot of first-team reps, sat out with a groin injury, the extent of which is uncertain. Garry Peters, an undrafted corner from Clemson who has missed OTAs with a hamstring issue, was excused from practice for a family matter, Wilks said.