Rivera: Newton lighter, more confident and ready to throw

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Mark Armstrong reports from the opening of Panthers training camp.

Cam Newton is ready to roll at training camp.

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Coach Ron Rivera said he's excited to see a lighter, more confident Newton test his surgically repaired throwing arm when the Panthers take the field Wednesday night for practice.

Newton reported to training camp Tuesday at Wofford College at 246 pounds - he has weighed as much as 260 in the past - and Rivera said the league's 2015 MVP is on schedule in his rehab from surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.

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"Cam had a good week last week (throwing) from what I understand," Rivera said. "So I am excited to see him in action."

Look for Newton to be on a pitch count.

Rivera said head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion has a plan for Newton this summer, but wouldn't elaborate on the details. But it's clear the Panthers will limit his reps in some capacity, at least at the beginning of training camp.

Ron Rivera speaks to the media as Panthers open camp Tuesday.



Rivera wouldn't say if he expects Newton to play in the preseason or if he'll hold him out until the regular season.

"The doctors will see how he is after every day" of practice, Rivera said.

Newton was not made available for interviews Tuesday.

Rivera said at the NFL scouting combine during the winter that Newton's confidence was affected last season. But he believes the seventh-year quarterback has regained his swagger after throwing last week with teammates in Baltimore during their annual team bonding vacation.

Rivera expressed optimism that Newton has made steady progress in his recovery from offseason surgery on his right shoulder. He played the final month of last season with a partially torn rotator cuff. The original plan was to allow Newton to recover through rest after the season, but eventually, Newton opted for surgery.

Rivera also said wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is "where he needs to be" in terms of weight. The two-time NFL Coach of the Year expressed concern about Benjamin's weight back in minicamp.

In other injury news, center Ryan Kalil will be limited as he continues to work back from a shoulder injury that ended his season prematurely last year.

NOTES: The Panthers waived defensive end Ryan Delaire (knee) after he failed his physical, and waived-injured wide receiver Charles Johnson after he underwent surgery on his right knee. ... The team signed center Greg Van Roten, who was most recently with the Jaguars before being released in May. Van Roten has appeared in 10 career NFL games after originally signing with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

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