Five practice observations: Day 5

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

PRO BOWL WORK ETHIC: The fact that tight end Greg Olsen hasn't missed a game in six years isn't an accident. Olsen works tirelessly to make sure his body is ready to perform. Prior to every practice, Olsen puts himself through a detailed stretching routine. It's that extra individual effort that helps keep him on the practice field and off the injured list.

RED ZONE RECAP: The first-team defense made it tough on the first-team offense during red zone drills. Coverage was tight in the secondary, and quarterback Cam Newton didn't have many open targets. Among the plays of note, linebacker Luke Kuechly broke up a pass for wide receiver Corey Brown in the end zone and cornerback Melvin White had terrific coverage on Olsen to deny a touchdown.

A good stretch for the defense, but Olsen explained why he isn't at all concerned.

"It was our first of install for red zone," Olsen said. "Red zone is such a week-by-week specific part of the game. It's so game-plan oriented. You are going to have days where it just doesn't match up. That's something that sometimes comes with early camp installations (where there isn't any game-planning). And when you are playing against a good defense, it's hard enough. But we'll be fine."

MAKING STRIDES: Rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess eventually broke through for the offense during the red zone period, hauling in a short touchdown pass from Newton on a quick out. It was one of several slick catches by the second-round pick.

"Funch, we keep seeing him improve every day," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He made a couple nice grabs. He's got a long ways to go, but we were saying that last year about Kelvin (Benjamin)."

HEATH IMPRESSES: Newly-signed cornerback T.J. Heath put forth a strong debut. On two separate occasions, Heath read the quarterback's eyes and broke on the ball to make a clean pass-breakup. That gave him a nice boost of confidence.

"I just tried to make an impact on the first day," Heath said. "I felt good today."

BALL CALL: Assistant head coach/secondary Steve Wilks is very vocal, and he wants the defensive backs to follow his lead – even when they're watching from the sideline. When Newton tossed a pass to Olsen down the sideline, Wilks wanted to hear a louder "ball call" from the defensive sideline to help alert the man in the coverage to locate the ball in the air. It's one of the many details that can make a difference on a crucial play during game day.

EXTRA POINT: Rookie wide receiver Damiere Byrd has been a playmaker, and it hasn't just been on deep routes that highlight his tremendous speed. The diminutive rookie has made some tough catches in traffic as well. Quarterback Joe Webb found Byrd wide open in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to end practice on Wednesday.

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