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Notes from the Carolina Panthers' Fan Fest

A little rain couldn't dampen the mood at the Carolina Panthers' Fan Fest Friday night. Stephen Sears was there and these were his key takeaways from the event.

Players Who Sat Out: Thomas DavisCharles Johnson and Ryan Kalil

Running Backs With Big Runs

The Carolina Panthers had their running backs on display Friday night at Fan Fest as Cameron Artis-Payne broke what looked to be a 50-yard run and he showed great burst and speed. The second-year running back has had a great training camp so far and Ron Rivera discussed this earlier in the week.

Artis-Payne and Brandon Wegher, who also had a long run at practice, are expected to have much bigger roles in this offense in 2016 and hopefully take some of the workload off Jonathan Stewart.

Panthers Defense Still Excels With Interceptions

Last year, the Panthers led the league in interceptions with 24 and this is a trend that is not expected to change much in 2016. On Friday night, undrafted rookie Jeremy Cash had his first big play of training camp when he was able to come down with an interception off Derek Anderson.

The award for the best interception of the night goes to Tre Boston, who was able to pick off a pass from Cam Newton to Devin Funchess. The third-year safety showed excellent body control and was able to get both feet inbounds.

Defense Makes Plays in the Red Zone

During the red zone drills, the Panthers' defense made their presence known on a few plays. In addition to the Boston interception, Luke Kuechly was able to stop Artis-Payne on the goal line and then shortly after got pressure on Cam Newton that flustered him.

According to Team Rankings, the Panthers finished ninth in touchdowns allowed in the red zones with opponents converting on 51% of their trips. This was roughly a 10% improvement from 2014 when teams were scoring on 61.54% of their trips. The hope is that this defense can continue playing tough defense when the opposition is close to the end zone.

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