First of all, this was the first time Kelvin Benjamin practiced in front of the media. Clearly Ricky Proehl is happy to see Kelvin's return.
Kelvin participated in all individual drills but did not participate in many team drills. He did, however, catch the ball well in the drills.
After Practice, Kelvin ran extra wind sprints, sideline to sideline.
Afterward, he was visibly exhausted in the running.
Kelvin spoke to the media after practice about his conditioning.
"It's not where I want to be at, but I am getting there" he said.
After a year off it will take Benjamin well into training camp to be back in football shape. He is taking it slowly while rehabbing his repaired knee. Fans should pace their expectations slowly as well.
Cam Newton continues the bandanna look, only upping the game to a throwback Panthers one. The Panthers store should stock these again pronto, would be a big seller.
Once the helmet was on the smiles stopped and it was back to the business of football.
Stephen Hill continued to show improved hands over last season. One interesting thing to note was he was fielding kicks as well. This was the first time I have witnessed Hill do this as a Carolina Panther. If Hill can prove to be a solid kick returner, his roster spot is all but assured.
Other things of note:
The Player of the day was Devin Funchess, who looked every bit as good as Kelvin Benjamin today. Funchess may quietly be the most imporoved player on the field. Keep an eye on this, he could turn heads sooner rather than later. In KK Short's absence, Vernon Butler got plenty of snaps. In the second play of team practice, Butler burst into the backfield for what have been a loss of yards for Jonathan Stewart. Butler may have the fastest first step on the defensive line. His speed was more than impressive today. Cam Newton's hard count drew Kony Ealy offsides, something Ealy still needs to work on. Cameron Artis-Payne took an increased number of second string snaps today compared to last week. He looked decisive in his running and caught the ball well out of the backfield from Derek Anderson. David Foucault had a glaring false start on a Derek Anderson hard count. Mike Shula was not happy and gave him more than an earful. Ted Ginn got by rookie corner Daryl Worley for a large gain. Steve Wilks immediately grabbed Warley and went over shoulder positioning with him. To say Wilks is in the ear of these young men daily is an understatement. Soon thereafter, Ted Ginn dropped a touchdown pass from Cam Newton in the back corner of the end zone. Very catchable ball was thrown. Punter Swayze Waters easily looked like the better punter today both in accuracy and hang time. I would say he is a lock. I am not convinced Robert McClain is the day 1 starter for the Panthers. He does well against larger, slower receivers. But he struggles against anyone with speed. One person that should be glad these practices are non-contact is Zack Sanchez. At one point he would have been responsible for tackling Greg Olsen head on. It would not have ended well for him, I believe. Sanchez gives up 6 inches and 60 pounds to Olsen. AJ Klein quickly snuffed out a Cam Newton screen pass, causing the defense to whoop and holler. Add screen passes to the list of things the Panthers offense constantly struggles with. Brandon Wegher also had more snaps today compared to last week. In my opinion, he is the most dangerous back on the roster out of the backfield. He turns around and heads up field much quicker than any other back on the roster. Though Luke Kuechly sits out of drills, he makes sure to engage in the defensive huddle before each practice period. His body may need time to recover, but his leadership does not.