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Newton fuels Panthers' optimism

Quarterback's upside has Carolina thinking playoffs -- and beyond

Originally Published: July 31, 2012
By Ashley Fox | ESPN.com

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- In July, every team is undefeated. Every team is optimistic. Every team is bullish on the upcoming season, on draft picks panning out, on players progressing from Year 1 to Year 2 and beyond, on schemes and schedules and game plans.

In July, dreams haven't been dashed by the realities of an arduous season. Injuries. Losses. Mistakes. Blown opportunities.

It is part of the beauty of the game, this July exuberance. Sometimes it is real. Sometimes it is manufactured. ...

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