The Carolina Panthers took to the field at Bank of America Stadium on Friday night to practice in front of a home crowd. Of the 60 thousand tickets claimed, I suspect only about half that many people actually showed up to watch the Panthers practice. Their absence also may have had something to do with the rain that poured over everyone for the first half of practice.
Many fans stayed in their seats during the rain, chanting “Lets Go Panthers” loudly as the Panthers players stretched.
Mike Tolbert decided he had had enough of the rain and grabbed the nearest object available that would give him shelter. If that object happened to be a trash can, so be it. You can see more photos of his trash can antics, well worth the click for a laugh.
Personally, I love it when it starts to rain at Panthers practices and games. To me, the rain just adds another character to the story. The photos are instantly transformed from ordinary to something else, something more special. Sure, my socks were drenched for 5 hours straight, but it was worth it.
Cam Newton performed his usual entertainment for the crowd as special teams drills took place. Newton would guide the crowd in doing various incarnations of “the wave” around the stadium.
The fast wave, the slow wave, the double wave, etc. It was really amazing to see one man grab a hold of an entire crowd and without speaking direct them into a collective act. I cannot think of another person that could have pulled this off.
What made it so enjoyable for the crowd was Newton’s genuine enthusiasm and joy that stemmed from the crowd interaction.
The play of the day went to Brandon Wegher for a 50+ yard run while backed up in the end zone. You can read about this play in more detail here.
General Carolina Panthers Notes:
Second year running back Cameron Artis-Payne had a solid night that included a long touchdown run. Between Artis-Payne and Wegher, the Panthers may not have to worry as much about an eventual Jonathan Stewart replacement.
Tight end Scott Simonson’s stock is rising. Simonson was able to spring free from Shaq Thompaon and catch a touchdown from Cam Newton. Simonson is in competition with Ed Dickson for a roster spot.
Rookie linebacker Jeremy Cash intercepted Derek Anderson on a pass intended for Damiere Byrd. This makes two practices in a row that I have noticed Cash making plays. Though still considered a long shot to make the regular roster, Cash has at least brought himself into the conversation. Keep an eye on this.
Lou Young continues with late hits on offensive players. On Friday night he popped Jalen Simmons after the play. He also recently gave an elbow to the head of rookie receiver Keyarris Garrett. This probably does not help Young’s case in making the team. Both of these instances would have drawn a flag from an official.
First round rookie defensive tackle Vernon Butler showed real promise with his quick footwork in the run game. He was often in the backfield disrupting the offensive play call.