The Carolina Panthers had another big crowd of several thousand Saturday morning for their second straight fully-padded practice at Wofford College.
However, the experience was muted for many of those fans because the Panthers spent the majority of their time on the practice field furthest from the majority of the fans.
We understand the need to alternate practice fields but the team should still err on the side of working out closer to its biggest supporters.
▪ Defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller told the players he has the second-best job in the world. “You know who has the first? Y’all,” he said. “You play a game for a living.”
▪ Fuller’s shirt was cool, too. It says, “Ain’t nothin’ but a thieves thing,” playing off the Thieves Avenue theme of recent years.
▪ It was a gorgeous day to knock someone on their business class.
▪ Friday free agent signee Drew Iddings is massive.
▪ No Oklahoma drill on Saturday, so everyone was safe from Julius Peppers.
▪ Defensive backs Captain Munnerlyn (hamstring) and Corn Elder (knee) not practicing, which meant big opportunities for Cole Luke and Zack Sanchez.
▪ Dan France, who was one of the combatants in the first camp fight on Friday, was held out. He had a brace on his left knee.
▪ Also not practicing: DT Kyle Love (ankle), DE Charles Johnson (vet day).
▪ Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess got some specialized instruction from Lance Taylor while other receivers did special teams drills.
▪ Kaelin Clay is determined to carve out his niche as this team’s return specialist. He showed his speed on a long punt return to the 10.
▪ Cam Newton threw two interceptions and had a drop in one stretch. The interceptions were back to back, by Mike Adams and Daryl Worley, before Russell Shepard got separated but dropped the ball.
▪ When Derek Anderson came in and threw an incompletion, the defense was getting fired up.
▪ Newton had some nice moments, too, including a touchdown pass to Ed Dickson, threaded between David Mayo and Kurt Coleman. Then he threw a high bullet that was just over Coleman’s fingertips but perfect for Funchess.
▪ A play-action rollout by Newton and a connection with Greg Olsen was further evidence of the offensive evolution.
▪ Left tackle Matt Kalil took a breather at one point. Panthers coach Ron Rivera his mentioned Kalil struggling with the humidity in Spartanburg.
▪ Rookie kicker Harrison Butker was 4-for-6 on field goals, with both misses being wide left – where all of his misses this week have been. Graham Gano did not kick.
▪ The GOAT, former Observer columnist Tom Sorensen, was in the house.
▪ In team drills, tight end Olsen had a nice one-handed catch with linebacker Luke Kuechly on him tight.
▪ Shepard also got nice separation on a deep route against Teddy Williams and made a great catch in the end zone.
▪ Nice touchdown catch on the penultimate play of practice by Fred Ross.
▪ Tight end Chris Manhertz had a rough day with a couple of drops, including one in the end zone to end practice.
▪ No. 8 overall pick Christian McCaffrey still a rookie, and we are reminded of this because he had to carry off Jonathan Stewart’s shoulder pads.