Five practice observations: Day 10

View the top photos from the 10th practice of training camp at Wofford College.

SHAQ ATTACK: Rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson, the Panthers' first-round draft choice, certainly announced his return to practice after being sidelined by a hamstring injury.

"Hamstring looks good to me!" defensive end Charles Johnson exclaimed when Thompson sliced through the middle for an interception at the goal line and took it back the other way early in Tuesday's practice. Later, Thompson burst through for an explosive hit on running back Fozzy Whittaker.

"You see his ability – you see him doing the things you need out of him," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He's playing with vision that he has and the athleticism showed as far as being able to plant and drive, undercut the ball and make the interception. Plus, he's got great hands.

"It was good to have him back on the field, practicing and doing the things that he's capable of."

EQUAL TIME: Be it coincidence or not, a couple of other linebackers battling for playing time came to play. David Mayo stuffed fellow rookie Brandon Wegher on a run attempt up the middle during 9-on-7. Around the same time, A.J. Klein got into it a little bit with tight end Marcus Lucas.

LUCAS FILM: Speaking of Lucas, he's making some plays in his attempt to convert from wide receiver. He made back-to-back catches early in practice, snaring a touchdown toss from Derek Anderson over the middle and following with a nice grab on a corner route. The big thing for Lucas is going to be the blocking aspect of his new role.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL: The offense started the two-minute drill with a bang, when quarterback Cam Newton hit Kelvin Benjamin for a 44-yard gain over cornerback Melvin White. The defense and specifically White, had the last laugh though in the ones-versus-ones portion, stuffing the offense the rest of the way and capped by White breaking up a fourth-down toss into the end zone intended for Benjamin.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL II AND III: The defense dominated the second-team matchup, save for an Anderson fourth-down scramble. The unit played prevent defense to perfection over the final two snaps, giving the offense no chance.

Wide receiver Avius Capers, a product of Johnson C. Smith in the shadows of Bank of America Stadium, made his mark with the third-teamers with a nice catch to start it and a touchdown to cap it. Capers also ended practice with a touchdown. His score in the two-minute drill starred quarterback Joe Webb, who scrambled to one side of the field and then the other after the clock had expired to keep the play alive before gunning one into the back of the end zone.


EXTRA POINT: Cornerback T.J. Heath keeps making his presence known. Signed as a free agent August 5, Heath dove in front of tight end Ed Dickson to break up a pass near the end zone. His pass-breakup-per-snap ratio has to be right near the top of the heap so far in camp.

"You see his quickness and his ball skills. You think, 'This is a guy that should be in a camp,'" Rivera said. "You wonder why he wasn't. We're giving him the opportunity."

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