Today was another practice without full pads, so the action was relatively light. Still, I was able to capture some interesting things.
Mike Tolbert and Frank Alexander noticed me early and mugged a little for the camera. I hear the guys have been enjoying my camp coverage, which is nice.
Nate Chandler was back in action today with a noticeable brace on his right knee.
This is a scary omen for Panthers fans. Nate Chandler needs to remain healthy this season. I feel there is a huge step down in talent from Chandler to Garry Williams, who would take over his starting role should he not be able to play.
Though he is the receivers coach, Ricky Proehl is also helping to develop the punt returners. Who is more qualified on the team in teaching the intricacies of catching and running with the ball? He gave Kenjon Barner some extra attention today. Spending time with Proehl will only make Barner a more complete player. Proehl gains instant respect from the players as a former NFL star himself.
During Passing drills Pilares was once again making plays. Pilares is also returning kicks. I don't have him on my first mock roster, but I certainly would not be shocked if he winds up with a locker.
Brenton Bersin also had a solid day today both in individual and team drills. You don't hear as much about Bersin these days, but that is not because he isn't performing well, but because it is no longer a shock that he is performing well. When the media is bored with your solid play, it means you have arrived.
I was sure to pay attention to AJ Klein in coverage today, and I liked what I saw. AJ has a nice quick burst and turns his hips well, not often out of place. Solid fundamentals from the second year player.
Today featured the most complete kickoff return drills of the camp. It was more of a dress rehearsal. Jordan Gay was given a shot at kicking the ball off. The Panthers will often pick up an extra kicker to save the leg of the starter for when it counts.
I am fairly certain Ricky Proehl understands what a gem he has to work with in Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin is the first elite prospect that Ricky has had to mold. In many ways Proehl will be judged on Benjamin's development.
Sometimes I think Cam wears his clothing in such a way, as if to just dare someone in the media to comment on it....
Kelvin Benjamin got his first real taste of being jammed at the line today, and Josh Norman did a nice job of frustrating Kelvin. Kelvin can improve his hands at the line, not allowing receivers to grip him and take him off his route. These fine details of the game are rarely mastered by a rookie.
There isn't a more aggressive or less intimidated player pound for pound than Josh Norman. Part of me hope he makes it on the field again mainly because his trash talk it top notch. The fact that he smiles while informing you how awful you are only makes me like him more.
Philly Brown had a great day today including a long TD where he burned by Robert Lester. Lester could not catch Philly once he was beaten.
Bene Benwikere, however, could.
Benwikere was also beaten by Philly Brown early on a deep fade...
The difference is that Benwikere has the closing speed and athleticism to catch up and make a play for the ball, causing the incompletion.
After practice, Cam Newton once again got in some extra time with his new receivers under the careful eye of offensive coordinator Mike Shula. Cam and all of the other QBs have done this every day of camp.
In fact, the quarterbacks consider themselve members of a special club, complete with a secret handshake.
They are the wolfpack.