Panthers a lot more comfortable this training camp after a season with coaching staff

Bridget Condon Image
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Panthers more comfortable with staff going into training camp
New quarterback Sam Darnold was so excited to get to work he took the field 30 minutes early for his first practice as a Panther.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WTVD) -- Day one of training camp is in the books for the Carolina Panthers and there's optimism in the air in Spartanburg.

Of course, there wasn't a ton of competition on the field Wednesday morning as the players are yet to be in pads, but quarterback Sam Darnold was so excited to get to work he took the field 30 minutes early.

"Sam is going to lead with his actions," said wide receiver, Robby Anderson, who played with Darnold in New York. "He's going to lead with is words, but he's definitely going to lead with his actions, and he's going to work. He keeps a head-down keep-grinding mentality."

Though there is a lot to work on, Panthers coach Matt Rhule was pleased with the first day.

"We'll have to go up and watch the tape," Rhule said. "We have to really, really, really harp on location, location, location, footwork, footwork, footwork. At least out there I was pleased."

Rhule said the players feel a bit less anxious this summer after having one season in the books with the coaching staff and being here together at training camp will only push them closer together.

"They know like this is what we do at practice, this is what OTL means, this is what this means," Rhule said. "We're just moving much more smoothly."

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Anderson agreed the year spent under a new coaching staff has made for a different feel this season.

"Last year everybody met a coach through a screen and met each other through a screen," Anderson said. "We played a season together and had an offseason. It's a lot different."

Per the NFL, the first four practices are considered an acclimation period, which means the practices won't really ramp up until next week.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule talks one-on-one with ABC11 after Panthers first training camp practice

Panthers coach Matt Rhule speaks with ABC11's Bridget Condon after the first day of practice Wednesday.