2020 Training Camp Observations: What stood out on the first day in pads

First day in pads

CHARLOTTE — Pads were on and popping for Carolina's practice on Monday. It's been a long time coming, as things are now starting to feel more and more like football.

"When those pads get to thumpin', you've got to be ready," safety Tre Boston said.

Here are some observations from the day's session.

— At 8:39, rookie safety Jeremy Chinn was first on the field. He did a little shock-and-shed work with the four-man sled before making his way back inside the Atrium Health Dome.

— Defensive tackle Kawann Short and running back Mike Davis showed up at practice around 9:20. Rhule revealed afterward that he told both players to take their kids to their first day of school. Rhule added he appreciated that both were pros in that they got to practice as soon as possible.

— Offensive players came out of the Dome for individual drills shortly before 9:30, while the defense did their drills inside. The offensive line worked on different blocking techniques with shields.

— In the next segment, the offensive lines worked through two different sled drills at the same time. The first had players practicing keeping their hands inside on a single-man sled. The second saw players driving a two-man sled to simulate a double team, then coming off that to hit a dummy linebacker at the second level.

— The defensive line came outside at about 9:40 and split into two groups. One went to the four-man sled for drills where interior linemen worked on shocking and shedding interior offensive linemen. The other group went to the single-man sled, ostensibly shocking and shedding tackles.

— While most of the offense and defense worked on an inside-run drill, the wide receivers and cornerbacks did one-on-ones on a far side of the field. It served as an example of how Rhule likes to maximize the time for everyone during practice.

— In one-on-ones, quarterback PJ Walker started the period connecting with wide receivers Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson in rapid succession. Walker also connected with Anderson on a nice corner route to the back-right pylon.

— During the same drill, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hit undrafted rookie receiver Omar Bayless on a fade route to the left side of the end zone. Bayless had to elevate to make the catch. Later in the period, he caught another touchdown in the back of the end zone from Bridgewater on a crossing route, showing strong hands. Bayless has impressed during the first couple practices, giving credence to the praise he's received from veterans.

— Seventh-round cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver III broke up a pass in the end zone, a solid rep for him.

— Samuel made a circus catch in the back of the end zone, barely keeping two feet in bounds while gaining control of the ball just before going out of play.

— In 11-on-11 drills, Bridgewater used his cadence to draw the defense offsides on a third-and-short play. The entire defensive unit — including those players on the sideline and many coaches — then dropped to the ground to do five push-ups. That ended the period.

— Rhule mentioned on Sunday the Panthers are mixing things up when it comes to personnel groupings to give more players more reps. For example, McCaffrey caught a tight pass in the end zone for a touchdown from quarterback Will Grier. No matter who you are, it seems like this coaching staff wants to spread reps around.

— Grier may or have gotten sacked on a play were it not practice, but since they don't tackle or stop the action, he fired a pass to the back-left corner of the end zone for Bayless. The undrafted rookie elevated and came down with the ball, though he landed out of bounds. Regardless, it was another impressive showing for Bayless (see below in today's photo gallery)

— Walker had a nice throw to Brandon Zylstra in the middle of the end zone in a fairly tight window. It was one of Walker's best throws of the day.

— In a red zone 11-on-11 drill, the defense stopped the offense on a set of downs and jubilantly celebrated the third-down stop as a unit. The pass rush would have gotten to Bridgewater for a sack.

— Finally, there were a few solid battles in one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive lines. Rookies Derrick Brown, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Bravvion Roy all showed solid push to get in the pocket. Veteran Kawann Short had a couple of good reps, too, displaying the health of his surgically-repaired shoulder.

View photos from Monday's practice as the Panthers put on pads for the first time in camp.

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