CHARLOTTE -- There was a lot to unpack in quarterback Cam Newton's press conference Wednesday. And, given the recent developments in the Panthers locker room, that's understandable.
After returning to the team on Monday, linebacker Thomas Davis ran onto the practice field for the first time since the preseason and re-familiarized himself with Newton and the rest of the team. To make things even better, tight end Greg Olsen also participated in team periods of practice - much to Newton's delight - as he inches closer to rejoining the huddle on game days.
Oh, and let's not forget that Carolina will face Washington and Newton's friend/former teammate Josh Norman on the road in Week 6. So, yeah, you might want to buckle up for this one.
TD's return gives Newton a sparring partner: Newton's red practice jersey may exempt him from physical contact, but that doesn't mean that verbal jabs are off limits.
Defensive end Mario Addison said Davis' return would give Newton someone who could go toe-to-toe with him when he starts talking. But Newton was quick to dismiss that notion.
"He can't. Being able to be orally gifted is something that I think I've mastered to a degree," he joked.
At any rate, Davis' presence in the locker room will do more than bring good vibes in Newton's eyes. From a football perspective, Davis is still widely known as one of the league's most explosive outside linebackers.
"Glad to have him back. It goes without saying how much he means to this team," Newton said. "A captain, a hard worker, a person that sets the tempo and tone, so it's looking like we're peaking at the right time. We still got to go out and do certain things."
Being "positively contagious" has been one of Newton's main charges since the offseason and, similar to what Newton has been for the offense, the impact that Davis' energy will have within defensive coordinator Eric Washington's schemes will be pivotal as the season progresses.
"I know I kid with him the most and I just know from my perspective, Batman needs his Joker back and I’m happy about that," Newton said. "We all know he's the Charlotte mayor. He can't do no wrong in a lot of people's eyes, and that's including myself and he backs it up.
"When he walked in and when he was available to come back, I know everybody had an internal smile knowing that we get 58 back.”
The band is back together: That's the way Newton described Olsen's return during Wednesday's practice. Clearly, Newton was glad to see his favorite target near a return from a foot injury that has sidelined him since Week 1.
Newton even took it a step further by saying that he would enlist the help of his grandmother in praying that Olsen can stay healthy once he gets the green light to play. "When I'm saying my own prayers now, I'm gonna start saying a prayer for Greg too 'cause he can't go out no more," he said.
The synergy between the duo has been well-documented over the years as Olsen has been an integral part of Newton's growth as a quarterback. Olsen's influence means "just as much as TD means to the defense," according to Newton, and, as he revealed during the presser, the 33-year-old Olsen has been more than just a reliable set of hands.
"He's a very intellectual person that helps me out with play-calling. I call him 'The Dictator' in the huddle because I really have problems with calling plays even in year eight and he kind of helps me," Newton said.
He went onto clarify that Olsen and his vast knowledge of the playbook helps him simplify the play call so the team can execute as quickly as possible. It remains to be seen if Olsen has a future in coaching but, to Newton, having him active again on Sundays will only lead to great things.
"His play-making ability on the field is just second to none," Newton said. "Having Greg back, keeping him healthy along with the talent that we already have, it presents a lot of problems for the opposing team."
Norman lacks no self-confidence: Apparently, Josh Norman likes to get in people's faces both on and off the field.
Newton takes pride in being a good trash talker but says Norman knows how to make the opposition a little uncomfortable.
"He's loud. That's all that matters; he's just loud," Newton said with a smile. "He gets into your personal bubble like when you're talking face-to-face, and I don't like that.
"Every person's got a bubble, Josh wants to get all in your bubble and talk. That's just him."
The pair's friendship dates back to Norman's time as a Panther from 2012-15, but their mutual respect hasn't diluted their competitive nature with one another. After watching the tough corner take heat for his Week 5 effort in New Orleans, Newton acknowledged that Norman's fearlessness is what makes him a threat on any given week.
"He's not a person who hesitates to take chances, and that's his gift and his curse," Newton said. "I still go into each and every game pointing out who the impact players are on every defense, and he's definitely one of those players."
In Norman's first game against Newton - a Monday night matchup in December 2016 - the Panthers won 26-15. Newton went 21-of-37 and racked up 300 yards and two touchdowns, while Norman had seven tackles and a near-interception of Newton in the third quarter. At the time, Norman said he wanted Newton to challenge him more. We'll just have to wait and see what Newton has for him come Sunday.
Samuel and Moore doing damage: Wide receivers Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore stepped up in Week 5, and Newton took notice.
Samuel made his 2018 debut in a big way on a thunderous 25-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first quarter versus the Giants. Moore's highlight came when he showed his physicality on a 18-yard rush that saw him plow through a Giants defender. "Those guys are hungry, man," Newton said.
He added that Carolina drafting Moore earlier this year was "the best thing that happened" to Samuel because it lit a fire under the 2017 second-round draft pick. "It takes awhile for them to understand this ain't college no more. Your time is now. I had to learn it too," Newton said. "On-field performance is everything so from training camp of this year, Curtis has been a different player."
As far as Moore goes, Newton likes what he's been seeing out of the rookie.
"DJ's just been a person that has just been realizing 'OK, I can do more. I know my skill set' and there's few people that possess it," he said. "When that ball's in his hands, he's capable of doing anything that he wants to.
"He's so physical, he's so low to the ground that he turns into a running back."
Pairing wideouts that can resemble running backs with a QB that can make things happen with his legs almost whenever he wants will only make Carolina more dangerous. Newton is optimistic about what Moore and Samuel will continue to bring to the receiving corps.
"When you start having guys who can take throws behind the line of scrimmage and turn them into touchdowns, that's great," Newton said.