CHARLOTTE (WTVD) -- Panthers minicamp starts bright and early Tuesday morning. The media is allowed to watch the first 20 minutes each of the three days. Mostly, we'll get to see some stretching and perhaps a position group drill or two. I'm hoping to see these five things:
1 Cam Newton throwing? (overhanded).
He hasn't thrown a "pass" since surgery to repair his shoulder on March 30. That excludes the underhanded tosses he made on Friday at his annual charity kickball event. Cam joked his kickball techniques weren't "causing any issues". He was asked about throwing this week, but his public relations person turned defensive back and batted it down.
2 Christian McCaffrey participating?
The Panthers first round pick arrived in the Tar Heel State Sunday. He's been forced to stay away from Charlotte until the college school year was officially over at Stanford - a silly NCAA rule that could have put him a little behind the learning curve as an NFL player. Probably not though. He's pretty smart. McCaffrey is expected to participate in Wednesday's practice.
3 Michael Oher Returns?
The offensive lineman posted an Instagram pic last week showing ten pill bottles. How many are related to his concussion recovery are unclear. Oher played in only three games last year and has been in the league's concussion protocol all offseason. He is expected to be in camp this week. GM Dave Gettleman flew out to Nashville to meet with Oher last month. Gettlman say's Oher's health is the "number one priority"
4 Defensive Backs improved?
Remember what Julio Jones did to the Panthers secondary last fall? Well here's the refresher: 300 yards receiving (Falcons franchise record) on 12 receptions. Atlanta scored 48 points that day exposing some serious defensive holes. The changes? Safety Tre Boston was cut loose in favor of free agent Mike Adams. Captain Munnerlyn was brought back after a stint in Minnesota. Second year Panthers James Bradberry and Daryl Worley must take a big step forward if the Panthers hope to regain that 2015 form.
5 Julius Peppers can still play?
Another former Panthers returns to provide depth on the defensive line. It's a stretch to think Pep is anywhere close to the guy that could dominate when he began his career in Charlotte 16 years ago. We'll settle for 8 sacks in '17. It's unclear if Peppers will see the practice field this week given his age and experience. Fellow defensive end Charles Johnson and Peppers could very well be in an air conditioned film room somewhere close by. With temperatures in the 90's and high humidity who could blame them?