2019 Training Camp Observations: A lot of red zone work

SPARTANBURG -- The fifth practice of training camp featured the introduction of red zone drills and there was a lot of action, so we’ll start there.

--Wide receiver DJ Moore had the catch of the day, reaching back for a one-handed snag in the middle of the end zone. Quarterback Cam Newton lofted the pass over linebacker Luke Kuechly and Moore got his head turned around in time to make the slick play.

--Newton also connected with wide receiver Curtis Samuel for a touchdown strike. Samuel worked free of cornerback James Bradberry at the line of scrimmage and the timing with Newton was perfect for the pitch and catch touchdown. “He’s becoming an outstanding route runner,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said of Samuel after practice.

--Running back Christian McCaffrey gets to the edge in a hurry. Newton hit the star running back in the flat and Kuechly and linebacker Shaq Thompson had to really kick it into high gear to prevent him from getting to the end zone. "That _ is fast," a member of the defense said aloud.

--Will Grier seems to be getting into a bit of a groove. The rookie quarterback hooked up with tight end Ian Thomas on a beautiful corner route to the pylon. And Turner was very happy to see Grier make the smart play and fire a quick pass to rookie running back Jordan Scarlett for a touchdown. “Isn’t that nice?” Turner said with a smile.

--Tight end Greg Olsen always seems to find a way to get wide open at least once a day down here at camp. This time quarterback Kyle Allen was the beneficiary, finding Olsen down the seam for the score. Allen connected with tight ends Jason Vander Laan and Ethan Wolf for touchdowns and everyone got a good laugh when he took a keeper into the end zone.

--Interesting development in the secondary. Cornerback Ross Cockrell got some time with the starters at free safety, a position he hasn’t played since college. Rashaan Gaulden continues to work there as well. As for the nickel spot, Cole Luke is getting more and more work with the first team.

--Bruce Irvin made the defensive coaches giddy with an effort play during team period. McCaffrey broke free and charged into the secondary. He didn’t know Irvin was chasing him down, and the veteran edge rusher punched the ball out from behind and recovered the fumble. That’s how you lead by example.

--Credit to safety Damian Parms and cornerback Corn Elder for two attention-grabbing pass breakups during team period. Parms broke perfectly on Grier’s pass over the middle to Aldrick Robinson to knock the ball free. Elder got way up there to break up a deep shot from Allen to DeAndrew White near the sideline.

--We also saw the “move-the-ball” drill for the first time. Newton moved the offense into scoring position with a series of completions, but it fizzled out on third-and-goal when Newton lost control of the ball as he pumped in the pocket.

--Rookie left tackle Greg Little continues to have a lot thrown at him during 1-on-1 pass rush. Veteran pass rusher Mario Addison won the rep with straight power, knocking the second-rounder off balance. Center Matt Paradis and offensive tackle Daryl Williams have not yet participated in 1-on-1s.

--Cornerback Kevon Seymour was targeted on back-to-back plays during 7-on-7. Robinson got the better of him for a deep ball from Grier on the first play, and Grier went right at him again. This time Seymour got a hand on the deep ball for an impressive PBU.

--Running backs coach Jake Peetz is always bringing something different to the table with his players. On Monday he brought out a boxing glove to help with ball security training. More on that to come.

--The last guy to leave the practice field (by a wide margin) was Elijah Holyfield. The undrafted rookie running back was working on catching short passes for nearly 10 minutes. You've got to be hard worker to make as an undrafted player, and Holyfield is definitely putting in the work. It should also be noted that he had several solid runs during the red zone period. He's clearly effective in that area of the field.

--Wide receiver Chris Hogan missed practice with a back injury. Defensive tackle Kyle Love was back in action but Bijhon Jackson had to exit early.

--After five straight days of practice, the Panthers have their first off day Tuesday.

View photos from the fifth day of training camp.

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