Panthers vs Bills : Teacher meets pupil on Friday night when the Carolina Panthers and head coach Ron Rivera host the Buffalo Bills and coach Sean McDermott in a preseason game at Bank of America Stadium. From 2011 to 2016, McDermott served as the defensive coordinator under Rivera before being named head coach of the Bills in 2017.
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That’s how you end training camp with a bang.
The final days of practice are typically lower on the energy and enthusiasm scale. But not this year with the Bills in town for two joint practices to wrap camp.
The intensity was high — but not too high — Wednesday. Coaches and players alike were pleased with what they got out of the final session before heading back to Charlotte.
First, let’s get to Brian Burns. The rookie edge rusher showed up to practice in full pads and looked ready to go after exiting yesterday’s practice early with an ankle injury. But after warming up with the training staff observing, Burns removed his pads and became a spectator for the day. For what it’s worth, the first-round pick told reporters after practice that it’s just a “slight bruise” and that he plans to play Friday night against the Bills.
And now, the final batch of training camp observations.
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–For the second straight day, practice started with a punt coverage drill where the gunner – in this case a Panther – is trying to beat the blocks of two Bills. The Buffalo players were getting pretty animated after a couple of successful reps. Then cornerback Javien Elliott stepped in at gunner and blew right past the pair of Bills in his way. Almost the entire Panthers roster went completely berserk. So did special teams coaches Chase Blackburn and Ben Jacobs. Here’s a look at the celebration (Elliott is in there somewhere).
missed the final two games of last season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January. He and Carolina’s other starters did not play in the first preseason game against the Bears.
Wide receiver Curtis Samuel was the star of training camp for the Panthers. His speed, quickness and ability to create separation are quickly turning him into Newton’s favorite offensive option. Samuel will step into a starting role in his third NFL season and play alongside D.J. Moore after the Panthers let Devin Funchess leave in free agency.
Panthers rookie first-round draft pick Brian Burns had two sacks against the Bears and has looked dominant in Carolina’s 3-4 defense. However, Burns tweaked his ankle Tuesday in a joint practice with the Bills. He tried to practice Wednesday, but couldn’t. Burns said he plans to play against Buffalo, but it’s possible coach Ron Rivera will err on the side of caution and keep Burns out.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen gets an opportunity to carry over what was an encouraging performance during two days of practices with the Panthers.
Aside from continuing to develop rapport with new receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown, Allen took time to get advice from Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly on how he defended against certain plays.