Skip to main content

Fan Fest Observations: Starters to play a series in opener

Fan Fest Observations

CHARLOTTE — There were fireworks, and lasers, and fans, and football.

But there wasn't an announcement of a starting quarterback.

After Thursday's Fan Fest practice at Bank of America Stadium, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said that both Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold would play a series or so in Saturday's preseason opener against Washington, but he didn't name a starter for the game.

Rhule said he wanted to give each of them eight or 10 plays (if one of them goes three-and-out, they'd likely get another series) and then let Matt Corral and PJ Walker handle the rest of the game.

He said that most of the starters would play the same series (or two), with a few exceptions.

He mentioned that cornerback Jaycee Horn would not play Saturday, as they watch his reps during his comeback (Horn tries to sneak into drills he's not involved in, so that job is sometimes complicated).

— The atmosphere in Bank of America Stadium was live (and it didn't rain, which was a huge plus).

From fans chanting Keep Pounding during the practice, to players throwing mini-footballs into the crowd and signing autographs, to Sir Purr doing a backflip off the scoreboard and ziplining to the field to start the fireworks, there was a positive energy.

"It's all love," safety Jeremy Chinn said. "It's so exciting seeing all these fans out here. It definitely sets the tone heading into the season; we want to protect this place, win games in this place. So seeing these fans out here, it means a lot."

— The practice itself was unpadded, so the intensity didn't match training camp, but there were still plenty of moments worth documenting.

The play of the night was turned in by cornerback CJ Henderson, with an interception returned for a touchdown (off Darnold).

Henderson has had a solid camp so far, earning the praise of his coaches for the prep work he's doing to build on his top-10 talent.

— Wide receiver DJ Moore was in a green jersey, but he wasn't too limited Thursday night.

He was running around having a good time when players came through the tunnel (and took an end-around from Mayfield during one of the first reps of the practice).

— Defensive tackle Derrick Brown was excused from the practice (personal matter), along with tight end Stephen Sullivan and offensive lineman Dennis Daley.

The same group of injured players from recent days (Terrace Marshall Jr., Colin Thompson, and Keith Taylor Jr.) were sidelined again.

View the best photos from Fan Fest, presented by Daimler Truck North America.

Related Content