Skip to main content

Five observations from Wednesday's practice

1. Olsen continues to progress: Day Two of practice for veteran tight end Greg Olsen showed that his time with the trainers has paid off.  After warmups, he was the first to receive a pass from Cam Newton – a one-handed grab good for 25 yards. He returned to the practice drive two plays later and recorded yet another reception. Later into training, he caught a corner route into the end zone from Newton, but was unable to keep both feet inbounds to complete the catch.

Although he did not participate in the final drive simulation before breaking practice, head coach Ron Rivera is encouraged by the tight end's showing.

"So far, so good," Rivera said. "He moved around pretty well today, and we'll see how he is, how he reacts in the morning to all this."

2. Rookie Garrett shines: Undrafted rookie Keyarris Garrett made at least four great catches, including one leaping grab – albeit not under significant pressure from a defensive back.

But, when posed with increased pressure, he was still able to complete his reception.  Where he's really improved since departing Tulsa? Rivera says it's his route running.

"I think he relied on his great athletic ability and his natural skills as a receiver when he was in college, but now in the league, you've got to be more precise and a better route runner. The timing has to be so much more. He's done that, and you can see the development. He's a young guy that looks like he might have a good future."

3. Thompson keeps picking off passes:* *Linebacker Shaq Thompson recorded zero interceptions as a rookie last season. It would seem he is disappointed by that statistic, as he continues to be a threat during practice, picking off his second pass of the week. Joe Webb was the unlucky passer on this occasion, and Thompson was waiting 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage to take advantage of the errant throw.

Add that to his intimidating presence as a tackler as the strongside linebacker, and Thompson is a force to be reckoned with. He accurately read a goal-line curl route to apply pressure on his receiver and forced a dropped ball.

4. Norwood flashes as deep threat: Wide receiver Kevin Norwood played in only one game last season, but Wednesday he reeled in three long passes up the sideline for scores. Although not facing heavy pressure, his breakaway speed could provide Newton and the Panthers another deep passing weapon.

It's been a good stretch for Norwood, who showed his toughness in the Panthers' last preseason game by quickly bouncing back from a big hit to find the end zone.

5. O-Line takes their first passing drills of the season: As has become tradition in seasons past, the offensive line had their five minutes of fame when center Ryan Kalil took the role of quarterback, floating passes to his linemates in the end zone.

Right tackle Mike Remmers takes the prize for prettiest touchdown catch of the day, performing a one-handed grab and keeping both feet inside the white line for a score. Not to be outdone, fellow tackle Donald Hawkins made his grab along the end line, keeping his toes on the turf to complete his scores.

Rivera had his eye on the drill, but his favorite play was that of a second-year Panther.

"I'll tell you what, Michael Oher is pretty athletic, so if we ever put him in as a jumbo tight end and have him run a seven (route), that might not be a bad thing."

View photos of practice from the third week of preseason.

Related Content