Without another kicker on the roster, Panthers coach Ron Rivera has been mindful of not putting too much wear and tear on the right leg of Graham Gano.
Rivera took the precautionary measures to the extreme Wednesday when he suggested Gano had been too strenuous while pretending to kick during a kickoff drill.
Gano ran up to the ball -- which wasn’t even on a tee -- and went through his kicking motion while the Panthers’ coverage players jogged down the field in their lanes.
“To be quite honest with you I thought his motions were a little more animated than I would have preferred as far as pretending to kick the ball,” Rivera said. “The idea was to give him a break (Wednesday) and have him kick (Thursday). I’m going to talk to him.”
The Panthers had brought an extra kicker to camp the past several seasons to take some of the load off Gano during the preseason. But they used the specialists spots this year to sign punters Mike Scifres and Swayze Waters, who are competing for Brad Nortman’s old job.
Gano, 29, has led the NFL with a 74.2 touchback percentage the past three seasons. He tied for second in the league last season with 146 points and his 30 field goals were the third-most by a Panthers kicker in a season.