–Cam Newton spent the first practice of the third and final week of organized team activities like he did during the two previous sessions open to the media. He worked some with trainers, handed off a few times and yelled a lot while watching team drills. His recovery from a January arthroscopic procedure on his throwing shoulder is going according to plan, and we probably could have surmised that even before a fan-shot video of Newton throwing a proper football hit Twitter last week.
“Somebody came in and took a picture, which we really don’t appreciate cause this is private property,” head coach Ron Rivera said after Monday’s OTA session. “But at the end of the day, he’s just going through the rehab process. There really is no timetable. He’s continuing to work with trainers on the side and do whatever they ask of him.
“I continue to feel good about him, but again, we’re going to listen to what Cam has to tell us. I’ll listen to what the doctors tell me and the trainers. He’s going through the process of his rehab program. At some point, he’s going to have to throw the football. It just so happened that the other day he did, and as I said, somebody came in and took a picture, which we really don’t appreciate people snooping on what we’re doing around here.”
–Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, was again not on the field. Tight end Ian Thomas continued to work on the side. So did rookie linebacker/defensive end Christian Miller. Offensive linemen Matt Paradis, Daryl Williams and Trai Turner continued their routine of participating in individuals and early installations before sitting out team drills. Running back Elijah Hood, who’s coming back from a torn ACL, got in several full sprints.
–BREAKING: Greg Olsen likes to talk. So does J.J. Jansen. They really like to talk to each other. Often at a high decibel level. So it was highly appropriate that as the tight end and long snapper walked into practice together, Olsen was heard rebutting Jansen with an “on the contrary.” The topic? Little League, which both dads coach. Which leads to this ICYMI from over the weekend:
–As Newton loudly pointed out, it was “take your kid to work day” for Olsen, whose son Tate watched practice alongside Olsen’s nephew and father-in-law. Olsen put on a show for them, too. He drew oohs and ahhs with this one-handed snag in individual drills:
–Olsen later snagged another one-hander in installs and made a nice over-the-shoulder catch on a beautiful, off-balance throw from third-round quarterback Will Grier in team drills. The throw from Grier looked a lot like this from his West Virginia days:
–Grier, who got some first-team reps, had an inconsistent day. After firing a rope to Jarius Wright on the sideline, Newton screamed, “That a boy, Willie G!” But Grier was also intercepted twice. First, safety Kai Nacua went high to catch a deep ball intended for DJ Moore. Then, late in team drills, defensive tackle Kawann Short batted a Grier pass up in the air before Short got under it, grabbed it and started running the other way as the defense celebrated.
–Kyle Allen also had an up-and-down day. One of his best passes was a dart to seventh-round pick Terry Godwin, eliciting a “that a boy, Lovey!” from Newton. But on the next play, Allen was picked off by safety Quin Blanding.
–One final Newton-as-cheerleader note: After running back Cameron Artis-Payne exploded through the line and ran to the end zone, Newton exclaimed, “You look like you went to Auburn running like that.” War Eagle.
–Cornerback Kevon Seymour, who underwent surgery on both his shoulders last season, had pass breakups on consecutive plays, including knocking away a pass in the end zone intended for Godwin.
–Defensive ends Bryan Cox Jr. and Efe Obada both look like they’ve added a good amount of bulk. It makes sense considering they could each be asked to help as traditional 4-3 ends or as ends in odd fronts. But Cox Jr. said he’s only put on about 2 pounds. Obada, though, is plus-15.
–A few years back, quarterback/Swiss Army knife Joe Webb was arguably the most well-liked player in the locker room. My bet for that title these days would be safety Damian Parms. Guys seem to gravitate toward the second-year safety, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. He returned to compete for a roster spot this offseason healthy and with what’s become a popular talking point – bright, bronze hair: