What critical observations emerged from a fascinating first practice in front of a bumper crowd at Carolina Panthers training camp?
Football is finally back. While there has yet to be a preseason or regular season game played, the sound and smell of training camp was in full swing on Wednesday.
I had the opportunity to see these Carolina Panthers players and coaches from the side of the famous hill at the Wofford College practice fields. It was great to see some of the most talented athletes in the world move around and be active in front of a packed audience.
There is a lot to get into from the first practice of training camp. From Bryce Young to Donte Jackson and Marquan McCall to Miles Sanders, here are four observations from Wednesday’s hot and humid session.
Carolina Panthers' increased energy
As I got out of my vehicle in the parking lot across the street from Gibbs Stadium, there was an obvious sign of excitement and high energy from fans.
I walked into the viewing area next to the close side field and the energy was unlike anything I experienced during the Matt Rhule era and certainly over, at the very least, the last five years. This is the first year since 2018 that there is legitimate hope and excitement from fans and local media.
That is the effect of a new coaching staff and a No. 1 overall draft selection with incredible talent.
As Bryce Young jogged onto the practice field for the first time as a Carolina Panthers player, there was a roar from the crowd not heard from since Cam Newton’s last time on that practice field in 2019.
While not as loud, there was a decent-sized cheer toward head coach Frank Reich, who was walking into the Wofford College sunshine for the first time in nearly three decades.
If this is the type of atmosphere that training camp will have this summer, just wait until the New Orleans Saints come into town for the Panthers' home opener on Monday Night Football. That will be an environment not witnessed in quite a while throughout the Carolinas.