CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - First day in full pads was suppose to be the story of the day at Carolina Panthers training camp on Monday, but Panthers running back Mike Davis and defensive tackle Kawann Short became the story when they showed up late for practice... for a good reason.
“They showed up late because I gave them the morning off to take their kids to school for the first day,” said Panthers head coach Matt Rhule.
Rhule gave this option to every player, staff member, and coach if they had a kid that was returning to school.
“Even if it is virtual, they should have breakfast with them and help them get on the computer,” said coach. “I think being a father is the most important thing that I am and our players are.”
Seeing statements like that and watching how coach interacts with his team is a great indicator to show how the team camaraderie and chemistry is building for the 2020 Carolina Panthers.
In the early part of this morning’s practice, coach Rhule jumped into a defensive line pass rush drill. He wasn’t as powerful and skilled as the lineman, but that wasn’t the point. It’s for a little comic relief. He is also trying to get their energy up and it is working.
“It’s definitely contagious,” said Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. “You feel him where ever you are in the building. He’s screaming. He’s loud. He’s running around. Sometimes he talks too much (as Teddy chuckles). He’s a great motivator and he is getting the best out of everyone.”
The players fed off that energy today and had a great first day in pads. There was not a lot of hitting in today’s practice as coach is going to ease them back into the physical aspect of the game. With 13 more padded practices left before the end of training camp, coach still has plenty of time to get his team ready. Today was a teachable moment for the young players on this team and they have a lot of them.
“I think in the first few days, you have to learn how to practice,” said Panthers safety Tre Boston. “Being young, as vets, we have to show these guys how to practice and keep guys off the ground. I thought we did a great job of that on the first day.”