CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers have been in the ramp up period of training camp since Wednesday and already, they see a difference in a Matt Rhule practice. In one word, most describe it as fast.
“If it’s a little bit faster at practice, when you get to the game it feels way slower,” said Panthers head coach Matt Rhule. “Hopefully you are in better shape. Hopefully you can fly around. I don’t want practice to ever feel like drudgery. I want the guys to go out there and let’s rock.”
“It’s so efficient how we can bang out two and half hours of practice in one and a half,” said offensive tackle Taylor Moton.
With all that is going on in the world, the players appreciated being at practice even more as it has become a sanctuary.
“Going out there and getting between those lines, that’s our peace,” said safety Juston Burris. “We still have to do our social distancing, but once we get on that field, it’s football. We got to try to block out everything that is going on in the outside world. Just get back to what we’ve been doing since we were kids and that’s playing the game of football.”
On Monday, the team will enter the next phase of training camp as they will put on the pads for the first time.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Moton. “I think we all are because it’s been a while.”
With no preseason games, these padded practices will be the test to see who makes the roster. It will be the only way to get that timing back down especially in the trenches.
“It’s a little different when you have an actual NFL defensive end in front of you and you got to get the footwork and the hands back so putting on the pads is the next step,” said Moton. “Without preseason games it’s that much more important that we get it down right.”
In the past, coach Rhule has put on the pads and joined his teams on the field to challenge them and to just make them laugh. That was when he was a college coach, but he doesn’t think that is a smart move in the NFL.
“Not a chance,” said Rhule. “Those days are long gone. These guys are way too fast and explosive. There’s not a chance!”