Fan Fest Observations

The Panthers held their annual Fan Fest practice in Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, drawing a record 22,070 fans. The lower bowl of the Southern side of the stadium was packed, with people opting to sit in the shade rather than bake in the sun.

The Panthers held their annual Fan Fest practice in Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, drawing a record 22,070 fans. The lower bowl of the Southern side of the stadium was packed, with people opting to sit in the shade rather than bake in the sun.

As usual, the kickers and punters were first on the field. Rookie Brad Nortman had good leg and direction on his punts, and had several decent coffin-corner punts during the time I was observing him.

New kicker Justin Medlock, who is in a battle with incumbent Olindo Mare, had good distance and accuracy on his kicks. During warmups, Medlock kicked a 65 yard field goal that looked like it could have been good from a few yards longer. Later in the practice Medlock missed a 50 yarder, hitting the upright. Olindo Mare, on the other hand, had one kick blocked and missed another one badly, failing to even get the ball to the back of the end zone. We'll see how it all shakes out next Saturday, when the Texans come to Charlotte in the preseason opener.

Cam Newton was one of the last players to come onto the field, but drew a huge ovation from the record crowd. Newton had an ordinary day; he didn't do anything spectacular, and nothing particularly badly either. There were a few instances where Newton and Brandon LaFell had miscommunication issues on a few routes, which looked as if LaFell didn't finish the play.

Jimmy Clausen had a nice afternoon, showing good placement and strength on most throws. He had one deep pass to Darvin Adams that went for a touchdown in which he dropped it perfectly into Adams in stride. Captain Munnerlyn had no chance to defend it.

The running backs looked as good as expected, with rookie Tauren Poole as the apparent third stringer. Poole had several nice runs and caught the ball well, including a nicely thrown fade from QB Jimmy Clausen.

Haruki Nakamura continues to run with the starters at safety, indicating that he's leapfrogged Sherrod Martin for that position. Nakamura is a sure tackler; something that eluded Martin last season.

Steve Smith and Chris Gamble took the afternoon off, which allowed more reps for Brandon LaFell, Seyi Ajirotutu and Louis Murphy to run with the starters. Darius Butler and R.J. Stanford started at cornerback.

Best Performance: I'm giving this to Darvin Adams. Adams ran good routes, showed great effort, made several nice catches, and nearly made an acrobatic catch along the sideline between two defenders.

Worst Performance: Gotta give it to QB Derek Anderson, who fumbled snaps, threw some picks and was generally unimpressive.


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