SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Carolina Panthers completed the first practice following their preseason debut early not because of the heat but because of their sweltering pace of play.
"The truth of the matter is that we knocked 12 minutes off practice because they did a really good job," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We went no-huddle in the second session, and they ran 18 plays in 10 minutes. The guys were moving. They had a good tempo and hustled to the ball.
"That's what you look for. They responded very well after having two days off. I was very pleased."
Unexpectedly, defensive end Charles Johnson got another day off. Johnson, who hasn't practiced in more than a week with a calf injury, was slated to return Monday but didn't last long.
"He still felt a little sore, so we pulled him out," Rivera said. "It's just soreness. He was out there and said, 'You know, I'm starting to do this and I feel this.'
"So we shut him down, and he went inside and they put him through some paces with some of the machines in there."
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, a big hit in Friday's victory at the Buffalo Bills, took a big hit to the back in that game and was limited Monday. On the other hand, defensive tackle Kawann Short (back) and rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson (hamstring) returned to practice after sitting out the Bills game.
Thompson, the Panthers' first-round draft choice, is trying to make up for lost time. Rivera believes that a rookie isn't truly ready until he takes 5,000 snaps.
"He's probably somewhere around 350, 400. You want more," Rivera said. "It's important for things to become second nature. He's got a long ways to go.
"He worked with the ones and the twos, trying to find how he fits. There's a blend of things we want to do with him."
Rivera said several players stood out upon film review of the Buffalo game. He singled out defensive ends Rakim Cox and Arthur Miley, who were rewarded with some first-team reps Monday, and defensive tackle Terry Redden. Rivera was also pleased with rookie running backs Cameron Artis-Payne and Brandon Wegher as well as the pass protection all three offensive lines provided.
A different sort of film review revealed a broken arm for tight end Jamie Childers suffered against the Bills. Childers was waived/injured, with the extra roster spot going to punter Matt Wile, signed back for the second time since camp began. The other Panther injured during the game, cornerback Teddy Williams, sat out practice and is in the league's concussion protocol.
View the top photos from the 12th practice of training camp at Wofford College.