Newton throws more, but Titans handle sloppy Panthers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Cam Newton threw passes in a 7-on-7 drill, doing more against the Tennessee Titans than the Carolina quarterback did in the first joint practice between the teams.
Then Newton returned to his cheerleader role Thursday, and he had a lot of company.
Tight end Greg Olsen got the session off as a veteran along with running back Jonathan Stewart and center Ryan Kalil. For those Panthers who did participate, Panthers coach Ron Rivera was not happy with their performance.
Rivera talked briefly with his Panthers before they headed to the buses and made it clear just how he felt. He said he basically explained that being great means playing at that level every day.
“The guys that dropped the balls were guys that got opportunities, and they were good balls that got dropped,” Rivera said. “When the ball hits you in the hand, you got to catch it. That’s just the way I look at it. The guy’s in front of you, you got to block him. Those are things that we didn’t do well ... and because of it we didn’t look very good.”
The Titans, on the other hand, looked pretty good — especially on defense.
Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey had the day off for Tennessee with the Titans also missing wide receiver Eric Decker (ankle) along with a handful of other injured players.
Whether Newton plays Saturday in Carolina’s preseason game against the Titans (0-1) will be decided Friday after the quarterback meets with trainers about his shoulder . That seems unlikely considering the 2015 NFL MVP did not throw a single ball in a team drill during the two joint practices, and the first time Newton threw passes defended by Tennessee was Thursday.
Rookie cornerback Adoree Jackson broke up a Newton pass to the corner of the end zone during that 7-on-7 drill.
“You could tell he was rusty, late on a couple decisions that he made,” Rivera said. “When he was throwing the ball, he was throwing the ball well so we’re not concerned about that. Now it’s just a matter of getting him into shape where he can go out there and take normal reps, instead of us having to make sure we’re monitoring him.”
The Titans rebounded from their first practice with Carolina.
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard tipped an interception to himself off a pass thrown by Joe Webb and returned it for a touchdown. The Titans’ first-team defense forced Carolina into a couple of throwaways before Derek Anderson was incomplete on a third pass. Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo had a sack, and rookie linebacker Jayon Brown forced Chris Manhertz to fumble.
Jackson, who also broke up another Newton pass during a 1-on-1 drill, intercepted a pass in a team drill.
“That was good to see,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of the rookie drafted at No. 18 overall out of Southern California . “Hopefully a little bit of a confidence booster for him. He’s had a good camp.”
Panthers rookie running back Christian McCaffrey said there were too many “self-inflicted” mistakes.
“We have a standard, and it’s higher than that for sure,” McCaffrey said.
On the other field, Marcus Mariota helped wrap up practice by finding Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker for a touchdown in a team drill. To Mularkey, it was a nice change after the Titans didn’t finish Wednesday the way they wanted.
“I thought they had about as complete of a practice as they’ve had out here,” Mularkey said of Thursday’s session. “I was pleased to see that. We got a lot of work with some of the younger guys. A lot of good things to teach off of from two days.”
Notes: The practice marked the end of training camp, at least for Tennessee veterans. Younger Titans will stick around the team hotel for another day. ... The Titans signed DB Darrius Sims, who practiced Thursday, and waived injured DE Kourtnei Brown.