SPARTANBURG, S.C. – If you asked head coach Ron Rivera to describe the 2016 training camp at Wofford College, he'd probably use the word "competitive".
At times, maybe too competitive. But that's a good problem to have when you're leading the reigning NFC champions into a new season.
"I thought things went well in camp," Rivera said. "I thought the energy level was what you want. It got competitive, a little too competitive at times, but that's a good thing. I'd much rather see that than the inverse."
Despite a plethora of vet days to rest some starters, the Panthers' final practice in Spartanburg was crisp and efficient.
"I was just talking to Ron," general manager Dave Gettleman said, "this was the best practice we've had breaking a camp since I've been here."
Unlike years past, this camp featured few position battles. Instead, established units battled to gain the slightest of edges day in and day out.
"I think the biggest thing about this training more than anything else, we came in with most of our positions settled. In the past, we had a number of positions we weren't quite sure about," Rivera said.
"You can get a little more creative with your installations. As we started going further and further into training camp with that many veteran guys out there, you don't have to be as basic. You can start being a little more creative – that's probably a good word for it."
Now the Panthers head back to Charlotte to continue camp at Bank of America Stadium. And game planning for the regular season opener at Denver is right around the corner.
"It becomes more of a businesslike atmosphere in terms of preparation," Rivera said of returning to Charlotte. "You really feel like you're gearing up and getting ready for the regular season. We start doing things more similarly to what we do in the regular season."