Carolina Panthers

Observations: Devin Funchess showing great strides

▪  It’s been clear receiver Devin Funchess has been the star of OTAs, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera confirmed that Tuesday. Funchess has taken advantage of being one of the top targets in Kelvin Benjamin and Philly Brown’s absence and is catching everything around him. Rivera said Funchess is “light years ahead” of where he was a year ago as a rookie.

▪  Running back Cameron Artis-Payne had a great change-of-direction run in team drills. He took the handoff and went right, stopped and then went left up the sideline for a big gain.

▪  On the first play of the second team drill, quarterback Cam Newton had to take a coverage sack as the defense was ready for his first, second and third options.

▪  Rookie cornerback Daryl Worley made a nice pass breakup on a Newton pass intended for Brenton Bersin. Bersin ran a slant and Worley jumped it to get a hand in there.

▪  Receiver Damiere Byrd continued to make plays when he caught a Newton pass in traffic at least 20 yards down the field.

▪  Robert McClain had a pass breakup on a deep ball from Derek Anderson intended for Avius Capers.

▪  Second-year safety Dean Marlowe nearly, and probably should have, had an interception on a Newton pass that sailed high. Bersin couldn’t get up to snag the high pass and the ball hit Marlowe in the chest.

▪ No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin missed at least his second OTA practice Tuesday for personal reasons, and defensive end Kony Ealy was out with sickness, Rivera said.