Observations from Carolina Panthers training camp in Spartanburg:
▪ Cam Newton had a choppy start to team drills. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly got a hand on Newton’s first two passes, breaking up a throw to fullback Richie Brockel and deflecting a ball wideout Ted Ginn Jr. reeled in.
▪ Newton and Kuechly have had in-practice competitions for several years. But the one between Newton and cornerback Josh Norman is heating up. After Norman laid out to break up a deep ball to Ginn, Newton started jawing at Norman and promising he’d come after him again.
▪ A couple of reserve safeties made good plays that could have been great. Dean Marlowe, undrafted out of James Madison, went up for an interception but came down out of bounds. A couple of plays later, Marcus Ball stretched out for a long pass from Joe Webb but couldn’t hang on for the INT.
▪ Ball’s drop cost him 10 pushups, which were overseen by Norman before the two joined the rest of the defensive backs on the other field.
▪ Defensive end Kony Ealy was able to get past left tackle Michael Oher during team passing, but left guard Andrew Norwell was there to keep Ealy off Newton.
▪ After five consecutive practices in full pads, the Panthers were in shorts and helmets. Ron Rivera wasn’t thrilled with the energy level and wondered if there might have been a hangover from Friday’s Fan Fest.