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Five Practice Observations: Day 13


1. Luke finally gets Cam: Quarterback Cam Newton stated at the start of training camp that he had set a personal goal to not be intercepted by linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

He almost reached his goal – almost.

On the 13th of 15 camp practices, in a 7-on-7 drill, Newton tried to thread a pass into traffic for wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, but Kuechly stepped up and claimed an interception.

"It's one of those things, you take two good athletes and they're competing against each other, somebody is going to make a play," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It was inevitable, I think, that Luke was going to get one."

Davis celebrated the play by yelling "Got him!" but on the very next play, wide receiver Devin Funchess got to yell "Got him!" right back when he hauled in a deep strike from Newton.

2. Another linebacker gets him – kind of: Even when Kuechly and Davis were being kept quiet in terms of interceptions, fellow linebacker Shaq Thompson had picked Newton multiple times. He did so again Sunday, ending a two-minute drill when – with the clock expiring – Newton had to force a ball into the end zone and Thompson was there waiting for it.

The interception was wiped out, however, by an offsides call, and the offense got one untimed down from the 10. Newton took advantage, buying time while hanging in the pocket and finally spotting Ted Ginn, Jr. running across the end zone for a score.

3. Byrd makes another play: The second-team units were up next in the two-minute. Facing fourth-and-5 at the 7-yard line, quarterback Derek Anderson lofted a perfect pass for Damiere Byrd, who had a half-a-step on Bene Benwikere and cashed it in for six.

"He's shown an awful lot, he really has. He's played very well," Rivera said of Byrd, who spent his rookie season in 2015 on the practice squad. "It started in OTAs and minicamp, but really it started last year. We had to release him because of some movement with our personnel, then we brought him back the following week and he came back a different guy.

"I want to credit Derek Anderson for that. Derek put his arm around him and said, 'You've got a little bit of juice to you. You've got a chance.' He took that seriously and worked very hard."

4. Day of learning for Bradberry: Early in practice in one-on-one drills, Benjamin beat rookie cornerback James Bradberry inside and deep, prompting secondary coach Steve Wilks to spend quite a while with Bradberry discussing how to be more physical on the route. Bradberry later got beat down the middle in a team period by another dangerous element, as Ginn used his speed to blow by Bradberry for a long reception.

5. Personnel update: Davis was on hand for Kuechly's interception after arriving late for practice.

"T.D. had to take care of some family business right away, but everything is fine and good now," Rivera said.

Tight end Ed Dickson (groin) returned to practice on a limited basis. Guard Chris Scott joined the group of players who remained out of practice with an undisclosed injury.

View photos of Carolina's 13th day of practice at training camp.

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