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Carolina Panthers

Five Practice Observations: Day 7


1. Funchess stepping up: Wide receiver Devin Funchess and quarterback Cam Newton combined to earn "Play of the Day" honors Thursday. The second-year wide receiver ran a deep post and separated from safety Tre Boston to haul in a long touchdown reception.

"I'm good at tracking the deep ball," Funchess said. "I'm here to make plays when my number is called. That's what I did today."

Newton's pass was right on the money, allowing Funchess to make the catch in stride before high-stepping into the end zone.

2. Boston exacts some revenge: Boston had the last laugh, however. Late in team drills, Newton tried to connect with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the flat, but Boston jumped the route for a relatively easy pick-six.

For Boston, it felt like a long time coming.

"I'm a guy who likes to talk it and a guy who likes to walk it," Boston said after practice. "It goes back to what I was talking about yesterday as far as letting the play come to me. I did my job, made the play, pick-six."

3. Anderson effective in red zone: Backup quarterback Derek Anderson was on point during a red zone drill. Anderson spotted running back Brandon Wegher out of the backfield for a short touchdown, and he later hit wide receiver Damiere Byrd cutting across the middle for another score.

4. Mayo lays the wood: Linebacker David Mayo, a fifth-round draft pick from a year ago, is overshadowed by Carolina's wealth of star power at the linebacker position. But he's made some attention-grabbing hits during training camp.

During a run play in team period, Mayo worked to fill the gap and lowered the boom on guard David Yankey, sending the lineman to the turf. The defensive sideline shouted their approval.

5. Rivera paying attention to punters: Head coach Ron Rivera said earlier in camp that the punting competition will come down to performance in the preseason games, but that doesn't mean the practices aren't important for Mike Scifres and Swayze Waters.

"I thought they both punted well, but there's a little something I see. Every time they get to the left hash, they both seem to shank the punt," Rivera said. "We are a directional punting team, so we've got to find somebody that gets on that left hash and is comfortable. I want to spend a little time and examine where we are as far as the competition is concerned. It looks like it will go right down to the wire.

"I'll say this about any position: You're always looking," Rivera added. "You never know, but I think we have two guys who have the ability. Mike is working himself back in shape after having surgery in the offseason, and Swayze is a young guy who shows a very strong leg. I believe the competition will come down to the end of August."

View photos of Carolina's seventh day of training camp practice.

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