After a very slow beginning to the month of June, the world of Panthers football began to rotate on it’s axis again today, as 3-day mandatory mini-camp started off with a bang. Players were eager to practice at a faster pace, and despite the North Carolina heat, productivity was at an all-time high. There were some bad moments amongst the good, and here are some key points that the first day of mini-camp produced.
Kelvin Benjamin’s dropping issue isn’t going to magically disappear:
Let’s be clear: I’m not jumping to conclusions, especially from one day of off-season practice, but Benjamin’s case of the dropsies were well-documented throughout his collegiate career. This afternoon, he dropped more balls then he should have, and slipped pretty bad on a routine route. That being said, Kelvin has great hands. His issue is that he lacks concentration, which is certainly coachable. I have complete confidence in WR coach Ricky Proehl to work with Benjamin, and I’m sure we’ll see his drops diminish over time. I mean, the guy turned Ted Ginn into a competent receiver. I’m not 100% sure that Proehl isn’t a wizard.
Greg Hardy isn’t letting legal issues affect his play:
A lot of people are speculating whether Hardy’s domestic abuse case will lower his production this season. While that is a reasonable assumption, it doesn’t look like that will be the case. The Kraken was without a doubt the most dominant player on the field today, with his upbeat energy being the driving force. Hardy looked like an excited prospect on the practice field, blowing past offensive lineman and having a great time doing it. He is scheduled to appear in court 10 days from today, and doesn’t seem concerned about it at all.
Trai Turner has the RG position on lock-down
Chris Scott missed all of OTAs due to being out of shape, and it didn’t come without consequences. While Scott couldn’t handle the heat, Turner thrived in it. The rookie out of LSU has played with the starters ever since he saw the field, and is handling himself well. Even with Scott back on the field today, Turner’s first-string spot didn’t budge. He is particularly excelling in run-blocking, and watching DeAngelo Williams run behind him is a thing of beauty. Looks like the 3rd rounder will make an immediate impact this season.
Cam Newton should be good-to-go in no time
While Cam still isn’t playing at full-speed, he’s improving every day. Rivera said that he did more than he expected today, and
that he could’ve even played with the first unit. The prospect of him being fully ready for training camp is very exciting, seeing that he was projected to be late to the party. While Newton has been limited, that hasn’t stopped him from showing outstanding leadership. He is constantly talking to his new receiving corps, and contributing to his already strong connection with Kelvin Benjamin. We’ve all got much love for Derek Anderson, but it’ll be great to see him playing with the second-stringers again.
While it is just mini-camp, it’s the most exciting football we’ve seen this off-season. All-in-all, the 2014 Panthers look like a very strong unit. Teamwork and communication are strongly emphasized by the coaching staff, and each unit is gelling together early. The next two days of mini-camp should set a strong precedent for training camp in July.