SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Throughout the spring, head coach Ron Rivera kept reminding reporters that position battles really wouldn't start in earnest until the pads went on.
You see, in spring workouts, the focus is on installation and retention. Saturday, it transitioned from the brain to the body.
Per tradition, the first hit came at the end of a pre-practice gathering at midfield. Rivera jokingly called for former left guard Andrew Norwell before bringing in rookies Brendan Mahon and Kendrick Norton:
– The most notable moment of the day was what appeared to be a significant right knee injury to starting right tackle Daryl Williams.
The play of the day came in this one-on-one between this year's top two draft picks:
And for a closer look:
Pretty nice stutter-and-go from DJ Moore, eh?
"I saw him slip, and once I saw that I knew I was good to go," Moore said. "I mean, every time a double move comes up, every receiver's eyes should light up. That's the best way to get open."
As Twitter pointed out again and again, yes, the ball was underthrown by Cam Newton. So while I think it was still encouraging to see Donte Jackson's recovery, he agreed with those on Twitter who pointed out again and again that it wasn't much of a moral victory.
"Play better technique, I wouldn't have to recover," Jackson said. "I feel like he won. I just won the end."
– It was interesting to see Jackson and third-round pick Rashaan Gaulden line up with the starters in the first 11-on-11 drill of the day. They held their own, too. On the drill's first play, Jackson batted away a pass intended for Devin Funchess, and a couple of plays later, Gaulden knocked the ball out of the hands of tight end Greg Olsen before he could complete the catch.
– But the guy in the secondary who was most active was Carolina's third-year cornerback, who batted away a number of passes.
"The guy that's been really consistent and who had a good day today was James Bradberry," Rivera said. "It was very good to see that. He made some plays on the ball. He's really worked hard. He had a good offseason, had a good spring for us."
– Practice appeared to end with an interception of Taylor Heinicke by Kevon Seymour.
"Appeared" is the key word.
"On my mama, he dropped that!" Newton screamed while the defense celebrated.
– Former second-round pick Everette Brown is helping out the coaching staff during camp as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship:
– Safety Mike Adams was mic'd up for "Camp Confidential," the Panthers' annual inside look at training camp.
Never one to shy away from a camera – or microphone – cornerback Captain Munnerlyn spent nearly an entire special teams period ribbing on Adams' age.
"You were in Tecmo Bowl, right?" Munnerlyn asked, referring to the Nintendo game released in 1987. Well, Adams was 6 back then. He also wasn't around to play against Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, even though Munnerlyn kept insisting it happened.