Jun 17, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin catches a pass during the minicamp held at the Carolina Panthers practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers Mini-Camp: First day impressions

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.

Jun 17, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy stretches during the minicamp held at the Carolina Panthers practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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

Jun 17, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton walks on the field prior to the start of the minicamp held at the Carolina Panthers practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Greg Hardy NFL

  • ahrcshaw

    The drops are not good any time, but Kelvin Benjamin’s drops at this point will only help his progress as the filming and coaching will start immediately with first hand information. It would be great for the fans for him to have made great catches and get a big right up in the media, but this will make him work harder.

    Having Trai Turner succeed at RG is really great news, when you add new WR’s and a power run game defenses will not be able to run the box 8. Trai Turner will definably help the running game to flourish and set the tone taking pressure off Cam and the receiving corps that will do a good job as well.

    Hardy is going to be a big asset this year, but that will be the end of him as a Panther and that is a sad situation for both him and the team. Money is where he can get it and it will not be with the Panthers even with his imaginary team discount.