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Observations from Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice with the Carolina Panthers

Alaina Getzenberg
·3 min read

The Carolina Panthers are midway through Senior Bowl week. Each day of practice, there are several players who leave impressions, new information on the Panthers’ process and other lessons.

hHere are some takeaways.

Panthers team owner David Tepper attended practice Wednesday. Tepper came into Mobile, Alabama, just for the day to observe what the team is doing. He even stood at midfield for a portion of practice watching the quarterbacks closely.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones had a bounce-back day Wednesday, completing multiple impressive throws and appearing far more comfortable. After Wake Forest/Georgia’s Jamie Newman was the top quarterback in practice Tuesday, Jones was clearly the best of the group Wednesday.

“(The) quarterbacks really had more chance to throw it today and then there was better protection today,” Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said. “Yesterday was a little bit of a scramble drill at times. The thing you see about Mac right off the bat, he’s a gamer, he’s got a great presence about him, he loves the moment, loves the competition, so there’s not much doubt that he has sort of that quarterback swagger that you can feel when you’re on the field.”

Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers put together another solid day. He has certainly drawn a lot of eyes and has potential as a punt returner, as well.

One standout play was when he beat his coverage one-on-one and raced for a touchdown pass from Newman. The quarterback, however, also had a couple of throws that were not as stellar, including a pair of back-to-back interceptions.

South Carolina wide receiver Shi Smith left practice early with an injury. A trainer carried his helmet as he walked off of the field.

The Panthers are having four different assistant coaches call plays during Saturday’s game with offensive coordinator Joe Brady missing in action due to COVID-19 related issues.

Quarterback coach Sean Ryan, however, is feeding the quarterbacks plays from the scripted practice sheet during practices, as is customary.

The Miami Dolphins and Panthers will be adhering to Senior Bowl tradition and switching teams for Friday’s meetings. That gives each team more time with the different players.

Rhule stopped practice about two-thirds of the way into the day and gave a speech about everyone needing to give their best effort. He was wearing a microphone for ESPN’s coverage of the practice, and said he was careful not to curse as he knew his mother would be watching.

“Saying ‘yes, sir’ does not mean your coachable,” Rhule said. “Looking someone in the eye, having football conversations means your coachable ... you should be coached on every play.”

The coach also made the point that many NFL staffs may just be trying to evaluate players in similar situations, but that the Panthers are also trying to coach them.

Baylor edge rusher William Bradley-King is having a solid week on the Panthers’ squad. He was never coached by Rhule or his staff, arriving after their departure, but he was recruited by Rhule as a graduate transfer from Arkansas State. Bradley-King said he was enjoyed working with the staff, and called Rhule “intense.” And that defensive coordinator Phil Snow has had a shocking amount of energy for 7 a.m. meetings.