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Five Practice Observations: Day 14

View photos of Carolina's 14th day of practice at training camp.

1. Twin towers haul in touchdowns: Wide receivers Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin combined to put on a show during the final team period Monday.

Quarterback Cam Newton launched a deep ball down the left sideline, and Funchess fought through cornerback Robert McClain's hand-checking to make the touchdown catch in stride.

Benjamin followed that up with an impressive touchdown of his own. He skied for quarterback Derek Anderson's pass and tapped both feet inbounds in the near corner.

2. Another Byrd steps up: Wide receiver LaRon Byrd flashed during two-minute drills.

Byrd laid out to make a terrific catch on a deep ball from Anderson, and fellow wideout Stephen Hill finished off the drive with a touchdown catch on fourth down.

When quarterback Joe Webb stepped in to lead the offense, Byrd came through again, this time hauling in a touchdown in the back corner with three seconds on the clock.

3. Worley breaking on the ball: Rookie cornerback Daryl Worley was impressive during the 1-on-1 drill against the wide receivers. It's a challenging drill for defensive backs to get a hand on the ball, but Worley did it twice.

First, Worley broke up an out route intended for Hill. Next, Worley deflected a similar pass intended for wide receiver Keyarris Garrett. Assistant head coach/secondary Steve Wilks was very pleased.


4. What to make of camp interceptions: The last play of practice saw Newton getting picked off for the first time on the day, when linebacker Shaq Thompson dove to tip a ball and redirected it to rookie cornerback James Bradberry in the end zone.

Newton was frustrated, just as he has been after each of several interceptions throughout camp, but it doesn't mean those same plays would have resulted in turnovers during an actual game.

"The defense was working on some new things, and when you're not game-planning and they throw something at you, it can be tough," head coach Ron Rivera said, also referencing a couple of plays where Newton had no one open and chose to just hold onto the ball. "That's where being stymied came from."

In the regular season, Newton wouldn't have just stood there, of course. Far from it, in fact.

"Out here, Cam isn't going to run the ball, so the defense can relax because they don't have to worry about that element, and they can just cover," Rivera said. "Add the threat of him running the football, and now those guys who are dropping 12, 15, 18 yards deep in coverage, the offense has a guy who can pull the ball down, run for 10 yards and keep it going with a first down.

"That's the element he creates, that unknown, that potential for something big to happen when he uses his legs."

5. Olsen absent: Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen was not at practice Monday due to back spasms suffered after Sunday's practice. Rivera said Olsen should be fine with some rest.

"Greg's back spasmed up yesterday after practice, so they wanted to keep him off the field today and treat him," Rivera said. "My understanding was that it's all just muscular, so hopefully he'll be fine."

With Olsen absent, young tight ends Scott Simonson, Beau Sandland and Marcus Lucas got some extended work with the first team.

Extra point: Former Panthers defensive tackle Dwan Edwards watched practice with his son. Edwards spent a lot of time watching his former running mates on the defensive line battle through drill after drill, and said he's thoroughly enjoying retirement.

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