Carolina Panthers

Panthers offense continues to struggle in red zone, but ...

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) makes a reception in front of Josh Norman (24) during morning practice during training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg on Tuesday. Benjamin and the first-team offense are still having issues in the red zone.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) makes a reception in front of Josh Norman (24) during morning practice during training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg on Tuesday. Benjamin and the first-team offense are still having issues in the red zone. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

The Carolina Panthers’ first-team offense is still having trouble finding the end zone in training camp, and Tuesday the trouble came in the form of the two-minute drill.

Carolina puts its first-, second- and third-team offenses in the drill Tuesday at Wofford College and got one touchdown despite reaching the red zone on all three occasions.

“It’s just up to us to find a way to get better,” quarterback Cam Newton said. “I think our third down efficiency today was great. Offensively that was the focus. We still have to get better in goal line production but that’s going to come with time. We still have guys who are learning on the move and when we get everything gelling it’ll be dangerous and fun to watch.”

Carolina’s first-team offense had previously struggled in red zone drills, and again it was efficiency inside the 20 that doomed the Panthers.

Newton got the team down the field with a deep pass to Kelvin Benjamin, but ultimately the drive stalled inside the 10 when a pass to Benjamin, who was covered well by cornerback Josh Norman, sailed high and out of bounds.

It wasn’t until Joe Webb scrambled to the right sideline, turned back to his left and found Avius Capers in the end zone on fourth down that Carolina’s offense (the third team at that) scored against the defense.

But Panthers coach Ron Rivera pointed out the team used Tuesday to work on only part of the drill, with the focus being on more deep passes.

“A lot of times in some two-minute drills you’re working on shorter to immediate routes, and we wanted to stretch the field a little bit and I liked the things we did,” Rivera said. “For the most part though I think there are some things we can clean up. I’d like to see our protection be a little better.

“And again, not having everybody in there that you need – there are some guys down on both sides of the ball – was a little disappointing.”

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