Panthers battling weather issues

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- It’s only training camp, but Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera already is taking some chances and shaking things up.

After having Monday night’s outdoor practice last only a little over 20 minutes due to a nasty storm, Rivera has called an audible. At least at this moment, the Panthers are scheduled to practice at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and they’re scheduled to practice outdoors. The original schedule had the Panthers practicing Tuesday evening.

But Rivera is playing the percentages and trying to squeeze in a full outdoor session. It rained early Tuesday morning in Spartanburg. Right now, the rain has stopped and, although there are lots of clouds, there have been a few glimpses of the sun in the last few minutes. The forecast is calling for the chance of showers off and on all day. But team officials said the chance of thunder and lightning appears greater this evening and that’s why Rivera elected to switch practice times.

It might not seem like a big deal, but the league rules that were put in last summer limit the number of padded practices a team can have in training camp. That makes each padded practice precious. Rivera basically lost one of those practices Monday night. The Panthers did go into the Wofford College gymnasium after they were forced off the practice field, but they were very limited in what they could accomplish.

It looks like things could be wet out there for the next few hours, but all indications are Rivera is going to try to get his team through a full outdoor session, as long as lightning and thunder stay out of the picture. I’m heading out to the practice field and will be back with more later.