Inside the Panthers

Observations: Carolina Panthers’ first day in pads has hits, misses

Carolina Panthers fans cover a hillside as they watch the team practice at Wofford College in Spartanburg on Saturday.
Carolina Panthers fans cover a hillside as they watch the team practice at Wofford College in Spartanburg on Saturday. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Observations from Saturday’s practice Carolina Panthers training camp in Spartanburg:

▪  Cornerback Teddy Williams delivered the biggest pop on the first day of practice. In 7-on-7 drills he hit rookie tight end Beau Sandland coming across the middle. The play decleated Sandland, who quickly got up and kept running.

▪  Receiver Kelvin Benjamin almost had a one-handed catch to add to his early camp collection of great grabs. A Cam Newton pass was slightly behind Benjamin, who tried to snag it with his right hand but couldn’t with Daryl Worley in coverage.

▪  Running back Jonathan Stewart received a veteran’s day off Saturday. The Panthers are taking it easy with Stewart after he dealt with soreness in his foot after the Super Bowl.

▪  Undrafted rookie fullback Devon Johnson missed his second day of practice with a lower back injury. The injury has raised some concern with the Panthers since Johnson dealt with similar injuries during his time at Marshall.

▪  Tight end Scott Simonson dropped an easy pass from Newton. After the play Newton offered words of encouragement to a clearly upset Simonson.

▪  James Bradberry got his hands on a deep Newton pass intended for Philly Brown. The ball probably wouldn’t have been thrown, though, because Kony Ealy had beaten Michael Oher around the edge for the sack.

▪  A fan repeatedly asked Newton to sign his football during practice. After being ignored by the team, the fan threw the ball onto the field during team drills. Receiver Devin Funchess picked up the ball and, much to the delight of those standing nearby, threw the ball deep into the crowd. A police officer finally came over toward the end of practice and gave the fan a warning.

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