The Carolina Panthers offense struggled today during the 4th practice of training camp. Though Ron Rivera pointed out in his post practice press conference that there were positives, the negatives were much more obvious.
The most glaring offensive miscues of the day were Cam Newton’s two interceptions.
The first Cam Newton interception came early in practice. For the second time in as many days, Shaq Thompson plucked the ball out of the air. Thompson also had an interception during yesterday’s practice, making this a trend. Cam Newton recently said his goal was not to throw an interception to Luke Kuechly or Thomas Davis. Clearly, he should have also had his focus on Shaq Thompson.
Newton’s second interception came at the hands of strong safety Kurt Coleman. Coleman recognized the Panthers offensive play and flashed inside of Devin Funchess at the precise moment the ball arrived. The result was another Kurt Coleman interception, all that was missing was his patented flex afterward.
The Carolina Panthers offensive struggles were not limited to interceptions. The day also included a bad hand off to Jonathan Stewart. Throw in multiple dropped passes and a bad Ryan Kalil snap and it is safe to say the Panthers offense did not have their best day.
Still, the news is not all bad. As Rivera pointed out, the Carolina Panthers offensive line did an impressive job during the many running plays today. Often they pushed the defense back several yards, allowing for major gains by Stewart, Whitaker, and Artis-Payne.
And to be fair, Brenton Bersin did come back and make an impressive grab late in practice despite defensive contact. That should be noted.
So what does this all mean? The play has not been poor enough to raise real concerns, at least not yet. Cam Newton has historically started off training camp a little rusty. That is the reason he created the “no interceptions to Luke or Thomas” rule to begin with. While there have been numerous interceptions thrown already in camp, it is still very early and not completely unexpected.
However, this poor performance by the Carolina Panthers offense is worth taking note of as practices continue this week.