SPARTANBURG, S.C. – When the 15th and final practice at Camp Wofford concluded, head coach Ron Rivera knew his team had finished strong.
The Miami Dolphins provided a valuable challenge for the final two days of camp, and Rivera left the practice fields feeling good about what was accomplished in Spartanburg.
"It was very productive. I'm very pleased with it," Rivera said. "We had good tempo, the intensity level was up, and that's what happens when you bring another team in.
"I appreciate the way Coach (Joe) Philbin and his players and staff handled it, too. We took advantage of the opportunity. We didn't come here to be disruptive and fight. We came here to get better as football teams, and I think both teams accomplished that. It will go a long way for all of us."
For the Panthers, Thursday's practice was the first since wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was ruled out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Teammates were devastated to hear the news, and Rivera took time to discuss how the group must stick together and move forward.
"We talked about that last night. I made mention of it to the players," Rivera said. "We talked about the opportunity it created. We don't want these things to happen, but when they do, somebody has to step up and take advantage of it. It's not about us being one player. It's about us being a team."
And as a team, the Panthers believe they are on the right track.
"Another camp in the books and I thought we did a great job," linebacker Luke Kuechly said. "Guys came together, and I think we've got a group that can make some noise this year.
"We're excited to get back to Charlotte and continue our quest to get better."