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Panthers Training Camp Observations: Day 8

Play of the Day

The Panthers kept Cam Newton from throwing for a third straight day, but the quarterback did use his legs on a couple of rollouts. Both were more proof there are no plans to completely shut Newton down as a runner. And the first was a reminder why.

In a team drill midway through practice, Newton took a bootleg around the right side, only needing to sprint past defensive end Charles Johnson. When Newton did, he cruised into the end zone before giving fans a little celebration.


Offensive MVP

Tight end Chris Manhertz: With Greg Olsen getting the day off, Manhertz saw some snaps with the first-team offense. He continued to impress, making multiple receptions, including a touchdown grab he made between two defenders in a red zone drill.

Claimed off waivers after the Saints cut him in October, Manhertz appeared in four games with the Panthers late last season. And with Scott Simonson currently out with an undisclosed injury, it seems like Manhertz is pulling away in the race for the third tight end spot.

"He's light years (ahead of where he was)," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He's done such a good job. He's working very hard, he's learning, he's developing. He's a very raw football player that I think could really become a good player for us."

Defensive MVP

Cornerback Daryl Worley: The second-year player continues to shine across from James Bradberry. Among Worley's solid day was a pass breakup near the line of scrimmage. He made a similar read earlier this week, but that time, he intercepted Newton. This time, the ball hit the ground.

"I've gotta catch that!" an irked Worley yelled when he was back on the sideline.

View photos from Carolina's eighth practice at training camp.

Injury updates

—Rivera wouldn't say Newton won't throw during Friday night's Fan Fest, but at this point, it'd be surprising if he did.

—Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was dressed for practice, but he didn't participate in any team drills. It didn't appear Benjamin was dealing with an injury. Rivera said of Benjamin, whose mother passed away last month: "He was a little wobbly on his legs."

—Thursday's other DNPs: wide receiver Curtis Samuel (hamstring), left tackle Matt Kalil (groin), defensive tackle Kawann Short (hamstring), cornerback Corn Elder (knee), safety Travell Dixon (foot), defensive tackle Kyle Love (ankle), safety Dezmen Southward (personal), wide receiver Fred Ross (undisclosed), linebacker Jared Norris (undisclosed), tight end Scott Simonson (undisclosed), cornerback Zack Sanchez (undisclosed), center Ryan Kalil (vet day).

—Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was allowed to jump in team drills for the first time since he returned this week from a sore hamstring.

Additional practice notes

—Like Wednesday, Newton was in for first snaps of the opening team drill, and like Wednesday, the first three plays were handoffs. When backup Derek Anderson went in for play No. 4, he threw a completion to Christian McCaffrey about 10 yards down the far sideline. While Newton wasn't throwing, he was more energetic/louder than he had been as a spectator this week. 

—Seconds after the Panthers released their first unofficial depth chart, with Brenton Bersin's spot on the second line the most notable nugget, Bersin hauled in a reception during 7-on-7s. 

—The 7-on-7 period wasn't a good one for the offense. It began with drops by running back Jonathan Stewart and wide receiver Russell Shepard. Undrafted wideout Austin Duke later had a perfectly placed deep ball from Joe Webb go off his fingertips. Duke did bounce back with a short reception on the next play. 

—Second-round offensive tackle Taylor Moton apparently got a bit too aggressive for Luke Kuechly's liking during goal line drills. The linebacker gave Moton an extra shove and an earful after they engaged at the line. "We're not in full pads, and I practiced like we were in full pads a little bit," Moton admitted. "I've got to understand the type of practice more. It was a lesson learned. I'm a rookie just trying to learn as much as I can."

—Garrett Gilbert has been the most impressive No. 4 quarterback at Carolina's camp in quite a while. Thursday, he dropped a perfect ball to Trevor Graham, who beat Teddy Williams for a gain of about 30 yards. But Williams got a measure of revenge on the last play of practice, intercepting Gilbert before heading the other way for a pick-6. 

—Former defensive tackle Dwan Edwards watched practice from the sidelines. Edwards, who was listed at 305 pounds, appears to have lost about 75 of those. 

—Give Munnerlyn credit for almost always willing to be the butt of short jokes. As he guided visiting Dorman High School football players during some early drills, the 5-foot-9 Munnerlyn said: "We're about the same size. I'm blending in." Then, in the pre-practice huddle, Rivera told the group: "Somebody find Captain Munnerlyn and tell him he's supposed to stay here with the Panthers and not with the high school team."  


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