After a steady rain overnight that carried over into early morning, the Carolina Panthers had dry weather for their 8:30 am practice.
CB A.J. Bouye and LB Shaq Thompson practiced but had red jerseys on. LB Denzel Perryman was riding a bicycle throughout practice but nothing of a severe nature at all. RB Darius Clark was injured and carted off the practice field towards the end of practice.
The biggest story of today’s practice was the vicious hit that S J.T. Ibe put on WR Keith Kirkwood during the 1st session of 11 on 11 in full pads. On that play, Kirkwood jumped up high to catch the ball. As he was coming down, Ibe hit him in the head/neck area. Medical staff quickly rushed over to attend to Kirkwood as he laid motionless on the field. After about 12 minutes, Kirkwood stabilized, and the training staff loaded him into a nearby ambulance which took him to Spartanburg Hospital. Rhule cussed Ibe out and threw him out of practice. About 45 minutes later, Ibe was released. The latest update on Kirkwood is that he can move all his lower extremities and has no pain in his neck area.
Here is the explanation J.T. Ibe gave Panthers beat writer Jonathan Alexander of The Charlotte Observer:
Coach Rhule asked a couple of the players if they wanted to continue practice or call it off. The players said they wanted to keep practicing. However, the energy just was not the same after the Kirkwood injury. To give an overall summary, I will say that the offensive line held their own a little bit better today with pads.
RB Christian McCaffrey continues to have about three or four spectacular runs each session. At times the offensive line gave QB Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, and Will Grier plenty of good pass protection. It was good to see the offensive line finally win some in the trenches. But overall, the edge still went to the defensive front seven. Speed and good pursuit angles seem to be early consistent traits that this defense is showing. Coach Rhule is still making players who have pre-snap penalties run laps. Today it was QB Sam Darnold and TE Tommy Tremble.
Overall, training camp is only 1/3 of the way completed. Patience to let the players make mistakes and learn from them would be the best stress-free advice for fans. The talent is there on both sides of the ball, but the process of gelling together takes time.