A few notes from the Panthers' padded practice Tuesday, which was intense, sometimes sloppy and sometimes very entertaining:
-- Steve Smith's finger injury, likely to keep him out a week or so after he injured it in practice, will give the younger receivers a chance to make some plays against the New York Giants Saturday night (I certainly wouldn't expect Smith to play in that game). On the other hand, it may make it harder for either Jimmy Clausen or Cam Newton to look good.
-- The best and worst of Newton was on display. He fumbled one ball that might have gotten returned for a TD in a real game, but also made an incredible touch pass to Jeremy Shockey over James Anderson.
-- I still would like to see Jimmy Clausen throw more downfield, but he was more consistent than Newton Tuesday.
-- Brandon LaFell made a terrific catch off a tipped ball.
-- Coach Ron Rivera didn't sound terribly pleased after the practice, as he believes the Panthers aren't performing consistently enough.
-- Interesting to hear Rivera's take on why Eric Norwood has moved ahead of Everette Brown to become a starter at defensive end (at least for now).
Rivera said Norwood has been extremely physical in camp, while Brown -- despite the speed rush that sometimes gets him to the quarterback -- has been a little too much of a finesse player and sometimes isn't as consistent. That's the sort of honest explanation you never would have heard from John Fox.
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