What were some critical observations from the fourth official Carolina Panthers practice session of training camp heading into the 2023 season?
There was an incredible sense of excitement in the air as the Carolina Panthers got into pads for the first time since training camp began. This is normally the time when the tempo increases and things get more physical, which also helps head coach Frank Reich and his staff with their respective evaluations heading into final cuts.
The stifling humidity of Spartanburg showed no signs of slowing up on Monday. But pads can be a great leveler and all it might take for players to begin asserting their dominance no matter where they are positioned on the depth chart.
With this in mind, here are four critical observations from Carolina's fourth training camp practice and the first with pads popping.
Carolina Panthers get C.J. Henderson injury scare
As is normally the case at this time of year, the odd injury problem comes up. Marquis Haynes Sr. is currently sitting out practices and the Carolina Panthers were dealt another potential blow when cornerback C.J. Henderson went to the medical tent on Monday with a suspected groin problem.
Head coach Frank Reich wasn't aware of the severity of Henderson's complication after practice. We'll find out more following further tests, but this is the last thing Carolina or the former first-round pick needs if he's out for an extended period.
Henderson's looked like a man reborn throughout the early stages of camp. He's responding well to improved coaching and also looks extra motivated in a contract year, so derailing this positive momentum would be a bitter blow.
The Panthers are also desperately short of reliable depth at the cornerback spot. Fortunately, general manager Scott Fitterer has enough salary-cap space to utilize if further reinforcements are needed.