The Carolina Panthers “Play of the Day” for day 3 of training camp goes to second year linebacker Shaq Thompson for an amazingly athletic interception of a Cam Newton pass.
Greg Olsen is as sure handed a target as Cam Newton could ever hope for. However, the ball needs to reach him for that to happen. On a Greg Olsen seam route, Shaq Thompson was able to leap in the air and deflect the ball backwards towards the line of scrimmage. He was then able to track the ball into his hands. From there, Shaq turned into more of a running back, a role is actually looked really good in.
Here is a three frame look at the play. (Apologies for it being a bit out of focus)
Once he was running with the ball, wide receiver Devin Funchess caught up with him trying to strip it from him. However, Shaq was not letting go of his prize.
Cam Newton was heard yelling across the field to Thomas Davis that “Shaq did something you couldn’t”. Newton has made it a goal of his this season not to throw an interception to Luke Kuechly or Thomas Davis. Maybe he should have added Shaq Thompson to that list. Thompson has been visibly more comfortable within the Carolina Panthers defensive scheme. He is thinking less, and reacting more. That fact alone will translate into more plays being made on the field.
The Panthers linebackers corps are now as complete as they have ever been in Carolina. All three players have the ability to not only tackle, but cover from sideline to sideline. This should prove to be a nightmare for opposing offenses in 2016.