Inside the Panthers

Monday practice Observations: A dreary day, unless you play on Panthers defense

Coach Rivera talks about upcoming pre-season game

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks about expectations for upcoming pre-season game against the Houston Texans. David T. Foster III - The Charlotte Observer
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Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks about expectations for upcoming pre-season game against the Houston Texans. David T. Foster III - The Charlotte Observer

Observations from Monday’s Carolina Panthers training camp practice at Wofford College in Spartanburg:

▪  First rainy day at Wofford.

▪  Cam Newton’s day: In pads again, and he did some light throwing with trainer Ryan Vermillion. Newton had done handoffs during some of the team work in recent days, but Monday he was doing conditioning on the other field.

▪  Related: Cam Newton’s monologue during stretching was about ... Waffle House.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said afterward he’s not concerned about Newton. “This is the third day he’s thrown the ball,” Rivera said, (although it was limited with trainers on the side.)

▪  Derek Anderson’s underthrown pass was intercepted by Zack Sanchez in the end zone at the end of the two-minute drill.

▪  Damiere Byrd pulled in a smooth touchdown on a nice pass from Joe Webb. Former Gamecock has had a strong camp.

▪  The players were not going full speed, but James Bradberry made another big play, intercepting a pass off tight end Scoott Simonson’s hands and returning it to the end zone.

▪  Kaelin Clay had a nice catch on a 40-yard deep ball from Webb. Clay pulled it in between two leaping DBs.

▪  Later, a back-of-the-end-zone pass meant for Clay was intercepted by a diving L.J. McCray. Big celebration from the defense.

▪  Overall it was a nice day for the defense. Lather, rinse, repeat.

▪  Fozzy Whitaker brought back a couple of kickoffs during special teams.

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is looking forward to the first pre-season game, which is on Wednesday against the Houston Texans.

▪  New tight end Bryce Williams got an earful from tight ends coach Pete Hoener.

▪  Former Panthers player and assistant coach Ricky Proehl was among the visitors at practice.

▪  Defensive end Julius Peppers got another day off.

▪  Also not practicing: WR Fred Ross, WR Curtis Samuel, DB Corn Elder, DT Kyle Love, OT Blaine Clausell, DE Charles Johnson, RB Cameron Artis Payne.

▪  During practice, safety Damian Parms headed to the stationary bikes with an injury of some sort.

▪  Defensive end Brian Cox Jr. was kneeling with trainers near the end of practice, and coach Ron Rivera said it was an asthma attack.

▪  Rivera also said that if he’d had a Heisman Trophy vote last season it would have gone to Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, now a Houston Texans rookie. The Panthers host the Texans on Wednesday.

▪  Former Panthers star Steve Smith will be part of NFL Network’s pregame coverage of the Carolina-Houston game Wednesday. It’s an easy commute for Smith, who still lives in Charlotte with his family.

▪  The Panthers have a game every year in which they try to get hold of as many of their alumni as possible and invite them to come. This year the team has had more “yes” RSVPs than ever before – at last count, 62 former Panthers will be in the stadium Wednesday and at some point will be introduced to the crowd.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue

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