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Carolina Panthers

Training camp concludes


SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Panthers completed their final practice at Wofford College Wednesday, marking the end of another training camp.

At this point the players have learned a lot about their schemes and playbooks, learned what the coaches expect of them.

They've also learned a lot about each other.

"Why training camp is so important – you grind it out," wide receiver Steve Smith said. "You see guys puke, you see guys bleeding and then you watch that guy to see what he does. He'll wipe it on his forearm and he gets right back in there. And when a guy does that you really know where he's at, how dedicated he is. That's what builds it."

Head coach Ron Rivera believes there are several positives for his club to build on as the team heads home to Charlotte.

"We accomplished some of the things we wanted to," Rivera said. "We are starting to practice more consistently; we're taking away those highs and lows during practice. We're starting to answer some of those position questions."

In regards to those position battles, Rivera said he's noticed some separation take place among the many wide receivers and cornerbacks competing for playing time. He's watched his offensive line gel as unit, and he's seen three safeties – Charles Godfrey, Sherrod Martin and Haruki Nakamura – emerge to solidify the backend of the secondary.

"There's reason for optimism," Rivera said.

His players feel the same way.

"It was a good camp, a very productive camp. I thought we got a lot of good work in," center Ryan Kalil said. "I'm really excited about this team and where we can go if we continue working."

The Panthers stayed relatively healthy throughout camp, and they are hoping to have their full arsenal of linebackers available for the start of the regular season as Jon Beason and Thomas Davis work their way back to full strength.

"We figured (Jon) would miss a little bit of time with the hamstring, but he's staying in it mentally," Rivera said. "Thomas got a little more work in today, and, hopefully, next week we can really start making bigger strides."

Camp and the dorm life may be over, but the steadfast prep work will continue as the preseason rolls along.

"You're still in camp mode as far as preseason goes, but we're not in Spartanburg anymore," Kalil said. "We'll keep working, and the schedule will be pretty similar. Only difference is we get to go home and sleep in our own beds."

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