Typically, the final practice of training camp is accompanied by a mad rush of players up the hill to pack up and head back to Charlotte.
This year, there was a little more lingering as players from the Panthers and Bills took pictures and shared stories. It was a spirited two days of practice, and the guys were spent.
Joint practices with Buffalo gave a strong end to a training camp that was largely successful for Carolina.
"Stuff like joint practices are important because you get a whole different type of intensity," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We didn’t game plan for them and we had to use our stuff to really follow your rules as players. Everything they saw was new and different. I’m pleased to have had that opportunity. If you can get two teams to come together and work on developing, you can help each other out a lot. We felt that we got a lot out of it, it was very successful."
The two practices with Buffalo helped the Panthers focus their efforts in a time where energy and intensity typically wains at the end of camp.
"You get some different looks with different personnel," tight end Greg Olsen said. "You adjust on the fly. You’re seeing a lot of things that you’re not prepping or game planning for. You gotta adjust on the fly. I thought guys really handled it well. They took the right approach and mindset. I think we got a lot out of it."
Productive joint practices to cap a productive camp, which thankfully lacked major injuries.
Quarterback Cam Newton threw on schedule throughout, getting repetitions and timing and showing off his arm strength with long completions on many days.
"It’s been good to develop his timing with his teammates," Rivera said about Newton. "That's the most important thing. Developing that feel and timing."
Wide receiver Curtis Samuel showed off his improved route-running over the last three weeks with flashy plays on a near-daily basis.
"Curtis made a lot of plays," said cornerback James Bradberry, often the victim of Samuel's receptions. "It’s tough to admit, but he’s my teammate. When we get on this roll for these 16 games, I feel like he’s gonna make some plays."
The defensive front showcased its new personnel and new formations. And rookie Brian Burns felt confident about his performance in his first camp setting.
"This camp, I’d rate it an 8 out of 10," Burns said. "Most days were productive. I worked on my skills and honed in on specific techniques that I needed to improve. There were some dog days. Some tough days. Especially when the vets take their vet days. You can really question whether or not you want to play football. It wasn’t so much the heat but the amount of reps and playing fast and the expectations that you have to play up to."
Second-year cornerback Donte Jackson knows expectations are especially high for him. He's coming out of his second training camp ready to meet them.
"I gave myself an A- at camp," Jackson said. "Just my approach to it this year's camp was way different. I was more confident in myself. More confident in that I know what I’m doing and I’m not out there second guessing. I can just go out there and play tough football and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been waking up every morning happy to be out here."
Take a look at some of the faces under the helmet through three weeks of training camp practice at Wofford College..