Rain threatened early, but left the afternoon humidity as storm clouds gave way to near-stifling heat in Spartanburg. If you're looking for sweeping impressions about the state of the Panthers, well, we didn't learn a whole lot. Though I can confirm Terrible Metaphor Guy is a real person, and not a maladjusted cyborg -- so there's that.
Cam Newton did not have a good day. His accuracy was scattershot for much of the afternoon, throwing high and wide on fairly simple routes. There were a few impressive passes, but it looked like Newton was out of sync with the offense. Given it's day two, don't worry too much about it.
The wide receivers were the most interesting element to watch. Steve Smith played how he always does, that is to say he's the most impressive guy on the field even when it's clear he's only giving 80%. Brandon LaFell had an excellent day. There wasn't anything flashy, but he had hands of glue -- particularly in the slot where he took some reps in a package where Smith and Greg Olsen were split wide.
Armanti Edwards has caught my ire at times, but today he was eye-catching, if not a little infuriating. Edwards is making the most difficult catches easily, but struggled with short routes. On deep posts and slants he's great, but he dropped two easy out routes at different points of the day. If I had to speculate I'd assume this is because Edwards doesn't have the time to spot the ball and prepare for the catch on quick-twitch routes. Overall he had a great day, but if he wants to excel as a slot receiver he'll need to improve.
Another early standout was Wofford's own, Brenton Bersin. He has excellent size at receiver, and showed a knack for contesting the pass in small spaces. This marked his second impressive practice, as Bersin spent a lot of time working with the second team. This could be the year he sticks.
The collection of defensive backs weren't especially impressive. Cam's play made them look better than they were, but there was a lack of play recognition, and they failed to play the ball well in the air. A lot of opportunities were available to them today, and they passed a lot of them up.
It's hard to learn much about the defensive line when there's no contact -- but it was interesting to see the Panthers' third down package installed. This entailed Charles Johnson and Frank Alexander played at defensive end, with Kawann Short and Greg Hardy at defensive tackle. This speed package could collapse the pocket quickly, and has a chance to be very effective.
Blitzing was a hallmark for much of the day. Middle linebacker blitzes, and defensive back pressure were two elements that were pushed heavily, and in ways we didn't see in 2012.
Running backs were as you would expect. It's easy to get carried away and assume the run game is elite, especially when there's no contact from the defense. We should learn more as camp moves on.
Two players who I don't think will make the 53: QB Colby Cameron, and OT Nate Chandler.
Cameron's passing today was as bad as anything I've witnessed. He doesn't have NFL arm strength, and showed no blitz awareness. This wasn't all his fault, because Chandler was getting beaten like a drum at left tackle. This experiment wont fly with real play, because he simply doesn't have the ability to play the position.