SPARTANBURG, SC: The Carolina Panthers followed up their first practice in full pads Monday with a shorter, yet efficient, session in just shells Tuesday. Here are observations from the day.
Comfortable at CB
With CJ Henderson sidelined with a groin injury, cornerback Keith Taylor saw more action with the 1st team Tuesday and turned heads with an impressive interception in the end zone of a Bryce Young pass intended for tight end Ian Thomas. Some would say with top cornerback’s Donte Jackson and Jaycee Horn coming off injuries and Henderson sidelined this past weekend with a groin injury, depth at the cornerback position is a concern, but it isn’t for head coach Frank Reich.
“I feel great about the cornerback depth,” Reich said. “The play he made today in red zone was really nice. He had a couple of nice plays in the stadium here. We need that competition. We need that depth. Unfortunately, in this league at every position we’ve got to have that and this is the time of year that we can develop that to the fullest.”
Frank Reich wants Bryce Young to challenge himself during practice. He wants him to make throws into tight windows, figure out how to work against different coverages and see what routes work best. With that discovery process mistakes will happen, and although Young has thrown an interception in each of the last four practices, the good has far out-weighed the mistakes.
Young was 8-13 during team periods Tuesday, including a 30 yard pass to tight end Ian Thomas, 25 yarder to Adam Thielen and aforementioned interception by Taylor. Bryce was more efficient during the 7 versus 7 red zone portion of practice, passing for three touchdowns on four attempts (including back to back scores to DJ Chark), with the only incompletion coming on a Spencer Brown drop.
Coach Frank Reich said that Panthers’ 4th round pick Chandler Zavala, who is nursing a hamstring injury, has made “really good progress the last couple of days” and could start working his way back on the field at the end of the week. With guard Austin Corbett still recovering from a torn ACL and expected to miss some time at the beginning of the season, Zavala is expected to provide much-needed depth at that position.