#1. QB Cam Newton was held out of practice today as a part of a preplanned day of rest. Head Coach Ron Rivera said that there are zero issues or setbacks with the right shoulder of Newton.
#2. TE Greg Olsen C Matt Paradis OT Daryl Williams DE/LB Mario Addison and DE/LB Bruce Irvin sat out practice with a “Vet Day Off”.
#3. WR Torrey Smith and LB Jermaine Carter Jr. passed their physicals this morning and were taken off the PUP list. Both practiced for the 1st time today.
#4. DT Kyle Love DT Bijhon Jackson OT Dillon Gordon and LB Sione Teuhema all left practice early today due to heat related issues.
#5. CB Corn Elder switched from #35 back to #29. This was his number in college as a Miami Hurricane. He sees this as a way to get his “swag and mojo back”.
#6. Rookie QB Will Grier got all the reps with the 1st team offense today. QB Taylor Heinicke was 2nd and QB Kyle Allen was 3rd.
#7. During 1 on 1 pass rush drills the most excitement came from rookie LB/DE Brian Burns getting the best of LT Greg Little several times. Burns quickness is ELITE!! Also LB Marquis Haynes was simply abusing RT Taylor Moton. Haynes used a variety of moves to get free quickly.
#8. During 1 on 1 interior pass rush drills both DT Gerald McCoy and DT Vernon Butler Jr. both displayed powerful and violent bull rush and spin moves that was causing frustration throughout the period.
#9. During 1 on 1 WR vs. DB drills no one could keep up with WR Curtis Samuel. He had a beautiful deep ball bomb thrown to him in the end zone over CB Donte Jackson that was good for a TD. But on their next rep against each other Jackson made a very impressive pass deflection over Samuel.
#10. Team Drills Offense: Will Grier looked fairly solid for the most part throwing short, throwing intermediate and throwing deep. But offensive coordinator Norv Turner did let Grier know that he is staring down his receiver too much and that he is making predetermined reads instead of going through his progression. FB Alex Armah made some impressive plays both running and catching the ball. He ran a couple of defenders over. RB Cameron Artis-Payne showed incredible burst and change of direction to make a few runs of 8 yards or more. TEs Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz showed effectiveness together in multiple 2 TE sets. Both made several catches lined up in a 3 point stance and flexed out standing up. I can see the Panthers using more 3 TE personnel this season.
#11. Team Drills Defense: S Eric Reid was all over the field making plays. You can tell he really is comfortable with the playbook. His communication with other DBs helped others to be in position to make plays as well. CB Javien Elliott made it tough for all slot receivers to break free from his nickel CB position. DB coach Perry Fewell got fired up a few times raving about his play. LBs Shaq Thompson and Andre Smith were the hardest “thumpers” against the run game with various RBs. Both were very salty against runs up the middle. The chemistry between DT Dontari Poe, DT Gerald McCoy and DT Kawann Short is very strong when they are in together.
#12. I was able to count the defense being in a “30 front” 28 times and in a “40 front” 34 times. This hybrid mix can be disruptive when consistently executed. It was fun seeing players lining up differently from play to play. Saw quite a bit of pass rushers dropping into coverage at times. I also noticed some unique defensive personnel being used. I saw some 2 DL 4 LB 5 DB sets. Also some 3 DL 3 LB and 5 DB looks. I even noticed more dime personnel with 4 CBs and 2 Safeties. With Rivera now calling plays it is easy to see that he is ready to finally play “chess” on defense instead of just “checkers”.