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Carolina Panthers

Panthers making progress, but work to be done


CHARLOTTE – After studying the film from his team's 23-17 preseason victory over the Miami Dolphins, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said there is a lengthy list of corrections to be made.

At the top of that list is the defense's inability to get off the field on third down.

"I am still concerned with our third-down efficiency on defense," Rivera said. "We had a couple opportunities and we didn't do it. That was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening. But there were a lot of guys that played hard and gave good effort."

DAVIS, BEASON MAKING PROGRESS: Linebacker Thomas Davis, who is working an injured calf back to full strength, practiced extensively Sunday afternoon.

"Thomas practiced an awful lot today, the most he's practiced (in a while)," Rivera said. "I was pretty excited to see him on the football field. Probably the biggest thing we got out of today was watching Thomas run around."

Jon Beason, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, did not participate Sunday, but Rivera said he hopes to have the middle linebacker back on the practice field Wednesday. There is a chance Beason will make his preseason debut Sunday against the Jets.

"If he has a good couple of days, hopefully, we'll see him on Sunday," Rivera said.

OTHER INJURY NOTES: Rivera said center Ryan Kalil and tackle Byron Bell, who were checked out after getting stepped on in Friday's game against the Dolphins, suffered no injuries. Both practiced Sunday.

Rivera also confirmed that the calf injury running back Jonathan Stewart suffered is not serious.

Wide receiver Steve Smith was given the day off due to a sore foot.

Additionally, linebackers Kenny Onatolu and Jason Williams did not practice Sunday. Onatolu, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Dolphins, is a long shot to play against the Jets, according to Rivera.

Williams hyperextended his elbow in the game but Rivera is hopeful he'll be back later in the week.

CENTER ADDED: The Panthers signed center Scott Mruczkowski over the weekend, bringing in a familiar face for depth along the offensive line.

Mruczkowski played eight years with the San Diego Chargers, where he spent some time playing in offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's offense.

"He's a guy that's played in this system and understands this system," said Rivera, who is also familiar with Mruczkowski from his days in San Diego. "We feel pretty confident with his abilities as a football player. He can be an asset to us."

Mruczkowski, who said teammates call him Mooch, plans to take advantage of his prior experience with the coaching staff.

"(The familiarity) should make this transition easier for me," Mruczkowski said. "I understand what they expect in practice, what they expect in the (meeting) room. Coming in with that kind of knowledge is a benefit to me."

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