The Carolina Panthers hold their 2017 minicamp this week at the practice fields outside of Bank of America Stadium. Although the team has been practicing there for a few weeks now, the minicamp marks the first mandatory practices of the 2017 season. Practices will be held Tuesday through Thursday of this week.
In terms of practice substance, there really is no difference between an OTA session and a minicamp session. Players go through sets of individual and positional drills to start practice. Then it moves to team drills as the offense squares off against the defense. Special teams drills are sprinkled in here and there at various times throughout practice.
Just as in OTAs, there is no contact allowed in minicamp. Full contact drills begin in Spartanburg when training camp begins.
Will the Carolina Panthers first round selection Christian McCaffrey be present? The Stanford semester ends officially on June 14. As such, McCaffrey will be allowed to attend practice on June 15th. This will be the first time that McCaffrey has practiced with the veterans of his new team.
All eyes will be on McCaffrey as he will be such an important cog in the Carolina Panthers offense. What will be most interesting is how many reps he will receive, and at the expense of which players? It is unclear if the Panthers intend on keeping both Fozzy Whitaker and Cameron Artis-Payne on the roster this season. The Panthers may be forced to decide between the two.
Another important development to keep an eye on this week involves Cam Newton. He is expected to begin throwing this week for the first time after shoulder surgery earlier this year. It is unlikely that Newton will participate in team drills. Instead, I suspect he will be throwing on the sidelines and possibly during positional drills.
How Cam Newton’s shoulder recovers from throwing in practice is probably more important than how it feels during practice. If all goes well with minimal soreness and swelling, you could see Newton participating fully at the start of training camp in late July. This would be an important development and a good sign for the Panthers season to come.
UPDATE: Cam Newton will not be throwing according. Cam Newton said last week in a radio interview that he was not ready to throw. According to the Panthers, the plan was always to have Newton throwing 12 weeks before the start of the NFL season.