Panthers coach Ron Rivera cools off with snow cone
Highlights from the Carolina Panthers’ joint practice against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday:
The play of the day might have come from a player who needed a big moment.
Rookie fullback Alex Armah, who played multiple positions but never fullback in college, pancaked his man during a kick-return drill, and half the Panthers sideline ran out screaming to celebrate.
Here’s what else happened.
▪ There was music at the Titans facilities, where they were playing “Everlong” early in practice. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had complained about the quiet on Wednesday.
▪ The good and “bad” in linebackers Luke Kuechly’s world: He defeated a block by Titans RB Jace Amaro rather easily in one-on-ones, then nearly had a pick – but made himself do pushups because he dropped it.
▪ Newton started off throwing with a trainer as Derek Anderson started individual period with receivers. Later Newton was throwing individual routes, including a deep-ish pattern to WR Devin Funchess, and he also threw twice to start one-on-ones vs. the Titans.
▪ Newton also also opened the 7-on-7s throwing, and was a little audibly frustrated after two straight passes went incomplete, one untouched and one a Damiere Byrd drop.
▪ There was another Byrd drop, his third, on a deep route when the corner jumped for the interception but missed.
▪ Quite the dude, a self-proclaimed Cowboys fan with a massive Duke tattoo at one point yelled, “Ain’t no butter on your fingers, Byrd!”
▪ Panthers TE Bryce Williams let one slip away, prompting Newton to yell, “Catch the ball, Bryce!” Then there was a pass on the same route to Mose Frazier, who dragged his toes to stay in bounds and pulled it in.
▪ Frazier followed that with another nice grab. He has had a nice couple of days in Nashville.
▪ A long strike from Derek Anderson to Austin Duke produced a touchdown. It’s notable that Kaelin Clay was also wide open on the opposite side. Both burned coverage.
▪ Rookie RB Christian McCaffrey scored on a little dump pass from Webb. McCaffrey created space around the edge.
▪ Newton was again vocal in encouraging his teammates: “C’mon y’all! We gotta give the fans something to talk about! Something to tweet about!”
▪ Titans Austin Johnson, Panthers T Matt Kalil get in a minor dust-up after McCaffrey carry looked like it drew a little extra contact.
▪ With Panthers CB James Bradberry a step behind Titans WR Harry Douglas, Douglas dropped it.
▪ After a pretty bad offensive period for Carolina ended with an overthrow (and not much of a jump) to Kelvin Benjamin, the Damiere Byrd redemption period began with a 30-yard TD catch from Joe Webb.
▪ There were words between Titans WR Tre McBride and Panthers S Damian Parms, then LJ McCray started jawing, too.
▪ Panthers WR Brenton Bersin bobbled a catch, tried to contain it against his body for what ended up being a Globetrotter pass to a defensive back for a pick six.
▪ There was another nice pass breakup by Panthers CB Cole Luke, who is trying to play his way onto the roster.
▪ The offense’s day wrapped with a touchdown to Benjamin.
▪ Veteran days off for several Panthers: DE Julius Peppers, TE Greg Olsen, C Ryan Kalil, RB Jonathan Stewart, LB Thomas Davis, S Mike Adams.
▪ Safety Kurt Coleman was back after missing Wednesday for personal reasons.
▪ LB Zeek Bigger did not practice after walking off with a trainer following heat issues on Wednesday. Still no Keyarris Garrett.
▪ Panthers safety Dezmen Southward had a strong day here in one-on-ones.