Football

The Carolina Panthers began veteran minicamp this week. Here’s what we saw on Day 1

Panthers Ron Rivera’s impressions of Cam’s progression Tuesday

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera discusses quarterback Cam Newton's progress following practice on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
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Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera discusses quarterback Cam Newton's progress following practice on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

The Carolina Panthers kicked off their three-day veteran minicamp on Tuesday, the last series of team activities before they break for the summer.

Quarterback Cam Newton threw a little over 20 passes in his first public — albeit limited — participation in team workouts since he had an arthroscopic procedure on his right shoulder in January.

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Naturally, lots of eyes were on Newton as he threw to stationary targets.

But throughout the camp, some players stood out and other new faces were worked into the Panthers’ system.

Here’s what we saw:

Tight ends Ian Thomas, Greg Olsen and Chris Manhertz worked off to the side during some parts of practice. Olsen and Manhertz are also able to participate in workouts, but Thomas’ return from a lower-leg injury will be in training camp, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

Center Matt Paradis, guard Trai Turner and tackle/guard Daryl Williams participated in playbook installations, but not the livelier scrimmage-like team periods — same as earlier this spring. Rivera said Paradis is still on track for training camp after suffering a broken leg in 2018.

Newly signed defensive lineman Gerald McCoy attacked the workout with relish. He’s wearing No. 93 after a swap with defensive tackle Kyle Love, who will wear No. 77, and took snaps as a defensive end in a three-man front as well as defensive tackle in a four-man front.

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Newton also went through installation periods with teammates, working through his handoff cadence with running back Christian McCaffrey.

Cole Luke, who switched positions from nickel cornerback to safety last season, had an acrobatic interception near the end of team drills that was the top defensive play of the day.

Third-year receiver Curtis Samuel had the offensive play of the day after reeling in a sideline grab from backup quarterback Will Grier near the end of team drills. The catch drew a lot of celebration from teammates — the loudest of whom was Newton.

Second-year linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. was the only absence as he was held out Tuesday with knee soreness according to the Panthers.

South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp took in practice from the sideline, rubbing shoulders with general manager Marty Hurney, Panthers owner David Tepper and Myers Park quarterback Drake Maye, along with a bevy of assistants.

Receivers Terry Godwin, DJ Moore, Rashad Ross and Chris Hogan all worked a little at punt return. The Panthers are searching for a return specialist after Damiere Byrd departed in free agency this spring.

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Jourdan has covered the Carolina Panthers as a beat writer since 2016, and froze during Pennsylvania winters as an award-winning Penn State football beat writer before that. A 2014 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, she’s on a never-ending quest for trick plays and the stories that give football fans goosebumps.
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