SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Carolina Panthers training camp from Wofford College:
You've read this before, but I keep repeating it because it keeps happening. Rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had another big day, catching two touchdown passes on the left side. Both were high, and both required the 6-foot-5 receiver to adjust his body in midair. I haven't seen Benjamin drop a pass in team drills, and nobody else I've spoken with has, either. He wasn't perfect on Tuesday, though. On what was supposed to be an alley-oop pass near the goal line he apparently didn't run the route correctly, forcing Cam Newton to look for another receiver. It resulted in an incompletion. Newton and wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl immediately spoke to Benjamin about it, demonstrating the kind of communication and chemistry that has been strong.
Speaking of Newton, long-time NFL talent evaluator Gil Brandt said Newton threw the ball Tuesday "as well as I've ever seen him." So for all those that predicted the three-plus months Newton missed while rehabilitating left ankle surgery would impact his timing in training camp, forget it. Newton has had moments where he's been off, but every quarterback does. For the most part he's been sharp.
Byron Bell literally got a leg up on the competition for the left tackle job because his primary competition, Nate Chandler, was out with a minor knee issue. Coach Ron Rivera said Chandler should be back on Wednesday, but it's starting to look like Bell will win the job. With Chandler out, Garry Williams stepped in at right tackle and did a nice job. Other key players among the 12 who missed practice with injuries were defensive end Charles Johnson (hamstring), running backs Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) and Kenjon Barner (back), and free safety Roman Harper (toe). Stewart hasn't practiced since camp started and will be evaluated again on Wednesday, but Rivera said he ran well on Tuesday. The team is being cautious with Harper so he doesn't develop turf toe. Defensive end Greg Hardy (shoulder) returned to practice after missing the last two.
Charles Godfrey opened as the starting nickel back over rookie Bene' Benwikere and was immediately beaten on a corner route by Benjamin. He later came back and made a good read on a pass over the middle, but dropped what should have been an interception. It appears if Godfrey is to help this team it will be at the nickel and not as an every down corner.
I asked Rivera to name a few players who have practiced well but not gotten the recognition that some of the high-profile players have. He started with undrafted wide receiver Marcus Lucas out of Missouri. He also mentioned backup center Brian Folkerts, referring to his nickname of "Caveman Center" with a story I'll share at a later date. He also likes what backup defensive end Mario Addison and backup safety Colin Jones have done.
The Panthers practice Wednesday at 9:25 a.m.