Five practice observations: Day 1

NEWTON ON POINT: Quarterback Cam Newton was dialed in during the first practice of training camp. Two of his better throws came on consecutive plays. First, he rolled right and launched a pass to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who beat cornerback Josh Norman for a long touchdown. Next, he and tight end Greg Olsen connected on a perfectly timed corner route in between defenders. A strong start for Newton.

STANDOUT WIDEOUT: Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was the star of training camp last year, and he looked great in his 2015 debut. He's in terrific shape and used his size to shield off defensive backs on multiple occasions Friday. Often times, he's just too big to handle when the ball is thrown up to him.

NORMAN SOARS: Cornerback Josh Norman is making a habit of acrobatic pass breakups. He made a leaping, diving breakup on a deep pass down the right sideline for Corey Brown, showing off his rare athletic ability.

GOOD LOOK FOR WHITE: Cornerback Melvin White outmuscled rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess for one of the defense's prized takeaways. There was a lot of hand fighting at the snap, and White had good position to step in front of a comeback route. The physicality of the pro game is something Funchess will have to adjust to, especially at the line of scrimmage. Side note on White: He's borderline unrecognizable without the beard he's sported since arriving two years ago as a rookie.

OFF AND RUNNING: Running backs Jordan Todman and Cameron Artis-Payne showed good burst in their limited action. Todman, unfortunately, had to leave the field early with a stomach bug. Artis-Payne, a sixth-round draft choice from Auburn, continues to look like he belongs.


EXTRA POINT: Head coach Ron Rivera told the media not to look too far into the pecking order at various positions as they'll likely change throughout training camp. For instance, Frank Alexander was the first-team defensive end opposite Charles Johnson on Friday, but other players will see action at that spot regularly. As for the left tackles behind Michael Oher, Nate Chandler was next up, followed by Amini Silatolu. Kick returners included Ted Ginn, Jr., Fozzy Whittaker, Damiere Byrd and Brenton Bersin.

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