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Talking about practice: Day 2

Posted Jul 29, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Players trying to secure a roster spot give it their all during every period of a Panthers training camp practice, but they – much like the fans – look forward to team periods.

On the practice fields at Wofford College, stretching, special teams work and position drills all come before the offense and defense line up against each other, but that isn't the case at Panthers.com.

After training camp practices, the staff will take you through the moments that defined the day. You're invited to eat your dessert first.

INSTANT REPLAYS: The defense came up with a pair of interceptions at the expense of quarterback Cam Newton. Safety Sherrod Martin picked Newton for the second consecutive practice, this time when a bullet bounced hard off wide receiver Steve Smith's hands and into Martin's waiting arms. Linebacker James Anderson also picked Newton, snaring a toss over the middle.

--Newton did hook up with several receivers for nice catches, including grabs by Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards. One of LaFell's stellar receptions was set up by an alert blitz pick-up by left tackle Jordan Gross on hard-charging safety Haruki Nakamura.

--LaFell couldn't track down one particularly deep ball, and the momentum carried him and cornerback Darius Butler over the same fence where Newton had tossed the ball a few plays earlier. Another souvenir for the fans.

--Wide receiver Darvin Adams impressively ripped a Jimmy Clausen pass out of the air, but Clausen missed out on having the longest scoring pass of the night when receiver Seyi Ajirotutu dropped one in the clear.

--Kicker Justin Medlock nailed 7-of-8 field goals, all from 45 or more yards and including a 53-yarder. Medlock said he and incumbent starter Olindo Mare will switch off kicking duties each day early in camp.

--Cornerback Chris Gamble missed most of practice for the second straight day dealing with some heat-related issues.


SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: For the second time in as many practices, Newton tossed one football into the crowd – sort of. His underhand toss toward fans lining the end zone didn't quite make it over a temporary snow fence. The ball bounced off several hands before a fortunate fan finally secured it.

--Smith spent some time on the side with newly acquired wideout Louis Murphy, offering some pointers on how to beat press coverage off the line of scrimmage and demonstrating one of his techniques.

--Head coach Ron Rivera watched the defensive backs work through a strip drill, and safety Jordan Pugh took notice. Pugh recovered a stripped ball, jogged over to Rivera and handed him the ball. "There you go," Rivera said with a laugh. "I like it."


THE DRILLING STATION: The defense concentrated on causing and then securing turnovers Sunday. Each position group worked on knocking the ball away from a ballcarrier from behind; diving on a loose ball and shielding it with their body in anticipation of players piling on; and backpedaling before cutting hard in front of a receiver stationed over the middle and intercepting the pass.

Long snapper J.J. Jansen participated in drills with the linebackers. When he successfully executed a interception drill, a linebacker chirped, "Yeah, J.J. I see you J.J. Sweet hands!"


NEXT UP: The Panthers will wear full pads for the first time this camp when they return to the practice field Monday at 6 p.m. Defensive end Charles Johnson plans to fully take part, saying his right knee is getting better every day.

Linebacker Jon Beason also is looking forward to the practice, especially after running back DeAngelo Williams got a little too physical in Beason's estimation when the two crossed paths on a run play during Saturday's practice.

"That's happened twice in my career, and both times it was DeAngelo," Beason said. "But it's all good. We'll put the pads on and get that addressed."