Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers cornerbacks wear boxing mitts during team drills

Several cornerbacks wore boxing mitts usually seen for sparring partners to practice.

Josh Norman and Antoine Cason were two of the defensive backs who wore them in team drills as a deterrent from grabbing onto receivers.

“We have to emphasize that we have to keep our hands off the receivers. It’s going to be one of the points of emphasis the league has talked about this year, and we’re going to make sure we’re doing things the right way,” Rivera said. “One of the things (defensive backs) coach (Steve) Wilks is doing with his defensive backs is putting on the boxing mitts, and that way the guys aren’t grabbing. They’re using their arms and hands the right way and they’re developing some good habits, and we’re trying to break some old and bad habits.”

While it’s a new tactic for the Panthers, Rivera said he had seen that practice going back to his playing days in the 1980s.

“That’s a way for us to play with technique and use our feet, getting jams and letting go of the wide receivers,” rookie cornerback Bene’ Benwikere said.

Receiver Jason Avant joked Cason was wearing the mitts because he’s used to “grabbing and holding.”

“It’s good practice for him because a lot of times as a corner you forget to move your feet and you reach out and grab and you get a penalty so he’s trying to work on his grabs,” Avant said. “He’s a great worker.”