Biggest takeaways from Panthers’ 1st joint practice with Patriots

The Carolina Panthers kicked off their first of two joint practices against the New England Patriots with a bang. Unfortunately, that bang might’ve come from one of the players’ fists.

Let’s run down the biggest takeaways from a contentious Tuesday in Foxboro, Mass.


Ikem Ekwonu is now the starting LT

AP Photo/Nell Redmond

The Panthers drafted Ekwonu back in April with the hopes of him becoming the franchise left tackle. Well, those hopes are off to a good start.

Following Tuesday’s session, head coach Matt Rhule told reporters that the plan is to keep Ickey—who has apparently earned the job—on the blindside from here on out.

“We wanted Ickey to play, put it on tape in a game before we put him with the 1’s,” Rhule said. “We wanted him to go in a game and play and then sorta earn it with his play. He played well in the game. And so these are valuable reps for him. So there were some plays that were good, probably. There were some plays that I know weren’t very good. He’s going against [Matthew] Judon, they got good players over there. So it’s good reps for him.”

“Yeah, I think that’s where we are moving forward,” he replied. “I think Brady’s one of our most improved players on this team. So MJ [Michael Jordan], Brady—they’ll continue to battle it out. And Brady can also play out of left tackle.”

Is Baker Mayfield closer to winning the QB competition?

AP Photo/Steven Senne

After a strong preseason debut on Saturday, Mayfield connected with wideout DJ Moore for the biggest play of practice—a 50-yard deep ball off play action. But when asked if Mayfield—who was the first to take reps with the 1’s—is pulling away from Sam Darnold, his other top receiver in Robbie Anderson didn’t disclose much:

“I think that they’re fightin’. I think they’re fightin’. I can’t really say. That’s not really my place. I just go with the flow.”

Two fights break out

AP Photo/Steven Senne

Practice fights, although sometimes positive in the long run, are just silly. Regardless, we had two on our hands today.

Those brawls resulted in the ejections of five players—safety Kenny Robinson and defensive tackle Phil Hoskins of Carolina and wideouts Kristian Wilkerson and Kendrick Bourne and offensive tackle James Ferentz of New England.

If nothing else, at least the Panthers brought some juice to their opponents. Let’s just hope they keep that energy under control for the rest of the week.

Notable observations

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire