What looked like it was going to be a scorcher actually cooled off nicely, as cloud cover prevented Tuesday's afternoon practice from hitting triple digits.
It was, however, hot on the field.
Panthers coach John Fox declared it the best practice of camp, after a spirited two-hour session which included three near-fights and lots of trash talk and some solid play by the defense.
You can tell the Panthers defenders are enjoying the swarm-to-the-ball style of new coordinator Ron Meeks, as their side is doing most of the laughing. The offense seems to be getting a little tired of being tugged upon, as the defense works intently on creating turnovers.
-- As for WR Steve Smith (shoulder), Fox said after practice he expected his star wideout to be ready at some point in the preseason. Whether he plays in the preseason is another question.
No one's terribly concerned about that, but they were worried about Smith's condition after he landed hard on his right shoulder Monday night.
Smith shrugged off questions about his condition early in the day, saying he left his medical degree back in Utah, but the reality seems to be that he's not as bad as originally feared.
-- They're still short on LBs, as Na'il Diggs got an old day off, along with Thomas Davis (knee) and Landon Johnson (groin).