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Panthers cap productive camp

Posted Aug 13, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – When an air horn sounded around 11 a.m., the Panthers huddled up one last time on the Wofford College practice fields.

Tuesday's practice closed out a chapter, but it's really only the beginning.

"It signifies the end of camp here and the start of camp in Charlotte," head coach Ron Rivera said. "That's the best way to look at it, trying to get these guys to understand that we're still in training camp basically. We've just moved training camp from here back to Charlotte."

Rivera felt like his players let up before the horn Tuesday and let them know about it during the final team huddle, but his overall impressions of the final practice and the practices before it overrode the flat finish.

"Unfortunately I think the guys were thinking about I-85, but the beginning of practice was really, real smooth," Rivera said. "I think we've accomplished what we wanted to accomplish in Spartanburg, and I look forward to resuming that after we play Thursday night."

While looking forward to the next challenge – Thursday night's preseason game at the Philadelphia Eagles - Rivera looked back on Friday's 24-17 victory over the Chicago Bears as proof of the Panthers' progress at camp.

"I think it showed in the way we played the other night," he said. "We were physical and aggressive much more than in the past in the first preseason game.

"Now we've got to be able to stay focused as we get ready to go up to Philadelphia and play them."

Focus hasn't been a concern in the eyes of center Ryan Kalil.

"You can feel the energy and feel the preparation and the commitment to this work," Kalil said. "We're working away, working to build a balanced football team with defense, offense and special teams. That's what this camp has been. That's what is most positive."

As always, training camp away from home allowed the Panthers to quickly build chemistry.

Still, there's no place like home.

"They do a great job with camp down here," tight end Greg Olsen said. "Guys are comfortable and have everything we need. It goes really smooth, but there really is no place like back in your own environment where you're used to being.

"There's a method to the madness. You don't just show up on Sunday and see what happens. We've just got to continue the process, continue to keep working. But for sure, there is a nice sense of relief. It's getting closer to the season when you get to leave camp and go home."