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Carolina Panthers

Talking about practice: Day 7


SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Panthers removed the pads Friday but still put together a lively final tune-up before returning to Bank of America Stadium for Fan Fest on Saturday at 4 p.m.

"We're looking forward to seeing our crowd," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We've had great crowds in Spartanburg with 12,000 on opening night and then a couple of thousand sitting through a rainstorm. That's been exciting to have them here for us, but we're look forward to having our fans come see us at Bank of America Stadium."


Defensive tackle Ron Edwards, who hyperextended his knee during Thursday's practice, did not participate, as expected.

Linebacker Thomas Davis was also absent, but head coach Ron Rivera was "relieved" after getting encouraging news from the training staff.

"He has a little bit of strain in his calf on the (same leg with) knee that was repaired," Rivera said. "The whole approach will be to be careful with him, and then we'll evaluate him as we get into next week."

Offensive tackle Lee Ziemba missed practice due to a knee injury suffered Thursday.

Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Brandon Hogan, and wide receivers Rico Wallace, Lamont Bryant and Hubert Anyiam all missed practice again.

"Those guys are really going to be day-by-day," Rivera said. "With the wide receivers and DBs, their most important this is to run, run, run. It takes a little bit longer."


--During one-on-one drills, wide receiver Louis Murphy used what appeared to be a triple-move to spring past cornerback Nate Ness for a score. Murphy spiked the ball with authority after the touchdown.

--Ness got some redemption late in the practice, securing his first interception in a Panthers uniform. The newcomer reeled in a high throw from quarterback Jimmy Clausen intended for wideout Armanti Edwards.

--Rookie wideout Brenton Bersin rose up above cornerback Darius Butler to snatch the ball in the end zone during one-on-ones.

--During a hurry-up portion of practice, safety Haruki Nakamura disguised coverage well and grabbed an easy interception on a Newton throw over the middle.

--Wide receiver Brandon LaFell beat two defenders on a seam route and Newton lofted the ball into his hands perfectly as LaFell crossed the goal line. Moments later, LaFell reached back to reel in a bullet from Newton on a crossing route over the middle.

--Louis Murphy found a gap in zone coverage on the left side and Clausen floated the ball over safety Jordan Pugh's outstretched arm for the completion with three defenders in the area.

--Tolbert caught a screen pass and ran left for a big gain behind the lead-blocking of guard Geoff Hangartner.

--Defensive end Greg Hardy read the offense's next attempt at a screen pass perfectly, knocking away Newton's pass intended for Stewart in the flat.

--Safety Jonathan Nelson closed practice on a strong note for the defense. He picked off Newton with an aggressive break on a ball intended for tight end Greg Smith, then he broke up another pass for Smith on the final snap of the day.


--Newton was entertaining, as usual, throughout the session. While stretching with the other quarterbacks, he sang "Wild Thing." Then, anxious to get practice started, Cam shouted, "What are we waiting on, Christmas?"

--While watching Clausen lead the offense, Newton ran up to tight end Greg Olsen after he made a fingertip catch and Olsen tossed him the ball. Newton then trotted down the sideline and into the end zone, pleasing the crowd.

--After shaking loose from cornerback Josh Thomas with a crisp double-move, wideout Steve Smith ran past Thomas after the play and said, "Got you!"

--LaFell made several top-notch catches throughout the session -- a couple deep downfield and a couple in tight quarters over the middle. He displayed great hands, plucking the ball out of the air with confidence, something he's done all camp.

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