View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against the Saints.
Health Watch:Because it's “the new normal,” Cam Newton was limited in Wednesday's practice. The Panthers quarterback moved around fine on the ankle he tweaked against the Bills, but his shoulder is still noticeably sore.
Newton began throwing during individual drills before he shut himself down to chat with head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion.
Newton isn't in danger of missing Sunday's game with the Saints, but when will his shoulder begin to feel normal for an entire week?
"I'm not quite sure," head coach Ron Rivera said. "But I know this: If he continues to make the decisions he's making right now – he's made a lot of good decisions – I think it's just a matter of time."
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who's dealing with a tender knee and shoulder after taking a hard hit in Week 2, didn't practice Wednesday. But he did work on the side and he's expected to play Sunday. Same with cornerback Daryl Worley, who sat out practice with a sore knee.
Center Ryan Kalil wasn't on the field. He missed the Bills game after waking up that morning with what Rivera termed "a crick in his neck." If Kalil can't make it back for Sunday, Tyler Larsen will make his seventh career start.
Like Newton, defensive tackle Vernon Butler (shoulder) and linebacker Jeremy Cash (calf) were limited.
Tight End Turnover: Life without tight end Greg Olsen is officially underway.
"It felt weird without Greg out there today," Ed Dickson said.
With Olsen recovering from surgery on his broken right foot, Dickson is now the de facto No. 1 tight end. And while he's totaled just 39 receptions and four receiving touchdowns since coming to Carolina in 2014, the Panthers believe Dickson can replace at least some of Olsen's production.
"I don't think it should affect the way we call the game or the game plan," Rivera said. "I think Ed's a more than capable football player. He's a guy that's waited in the wings for an opportunity.
"I'm excited for him. I think it's a heck of an opportunity and I think he'll do well."
The View From New Orleans: The Panthers have won four of their past five against the Saints, and Olsen's a big reason why. Over those five meetings, he averaged 7.4 receptions and 92.4 yards per game.
No one – even Dickson – expects any one player to make up for what Olsen can do. Like the Panthers experienced after Benjamin went down in 2015, sometimes the best option is to give others a chance to make plays.
"Anytime you have a player like Olsen that goes down, you hate to see it," Saints head coach Payton said on a conference call with Carolina-based media.
"Sometimes I'm asked, 'Where do the touches come from specifically?' Typically they get spread around. I don't know that anyone just jumps in and handles everything that a guy like Olsen brings. I think that's tough to emulate. But typically it increases the opportunities for the group in general."
The Other "LUUUUKE" Returns: Four months after he signed with the Saints, A.J. Klein got back together with some of his former teammates at fellow linebacker Ben Jacobs' wedding:
Now Klein, who landed a starting middle linebacker role in New Orleans, will return to the place where he was often mistaken as "LUUUUKE!"
"It'll be interesting to see if they do it as a joke," Klein said on a conference call when asked if he thought fans at Bank of America Stadium would again serenade him with their chant meant for Kuechly.
"But like I said when I was there, it was always a good thing to be mistaken for Luke because it means I'm doing something right."
Cam's Cleats: The last time we saw fox tails on cleats, Newton was warming up ahead of last season's Thursday Night win over the Saints.
On Wednesday, the Panthers' other Cameron tried to pull off the look:
So why was running back Cameron Artis-Payne wearing those cleats at practice?
"He's an Under Armour athlete. He's protecting his house," Newton said, parroting his sponsor Under Armour's mantra.
"You can guarantee he won't have no blisters in there. I can tell you that."