A s the start of training camp nears, we’re getting closer to clearing up many mysteries that have hung over this Panthers’ offseason.Below you’ll find five questions for each position group, and even a bonus section for the coaches. It’s not necessarily an exercise that will be completed when the Panthers break camp. Some should be answered by then, others won’t be until final cuts are in on Aug. 30.It’s a list that is by no means complete. Think of it as a starter set. Hopefully it’s something we can come back to every once in a while over the next six-plus weeks to see what we know, and what we’re still waiting to find out.
1. Will Cam Newton be limited?2. How much will Newton and the Panthers push it if he’s not 100 percent?3. Can Newton get his timing down with the rebuilt receiving corps?4. How vocal will Newton be in his ‘new’ leadership role?5. Will the Panthers keep a third quarterback?
1. Will Jonathan Stewart’s good health last?2. Could Stewart start taking more snaps with the ones, in place of DeAngelo Williams?3. Can Kenjon Barner make a case for a real role in the offense?4. Is Tyler Gaffney’s immediate future solely on special teams?5. Could Michael Zordich steal a roster spot as someone who can do a bunch of things?
1. Will coaches continue to give everyone plenty of chances?2. When will the cream start rising to the top?3. Will Tiquan Underwood look better than he did during offseason workouts?4. Is there an “answer on the roster” from this group: Brenton Bersin, Tavarres King, Marvin McNutt, Kealoha Pilares?5. Could De’Andre Presley snag a spot in the slot?
1. How far along is the Brandon Williams project?2. Will Ed Dickson follow up his strong showing during offseason workouts with a solid camp?3. What is Mike McNeill’s true role?4. Can anyone fill the vital job of a blocking tight end?5. How often will the offense use two-tight end sets?
1. Who will earn the left tackle job?2. Can Garry Williams stay healthy?3. Will Trai Turner be the starting right guard from day one?4. Will Amini Silatolu be limited?5. Can Edmund Kugbila get on the field?
1. Will Greg Hardy face any punishment from the team or league?2. Is Frank Alexander, who’s suspended the first four games, worth keeping around?3. How far along is Kony Ealy?4. Will either of the two defensive players with CFL ties — Linden Gaydosh and Alex Hall — stick?5. Was Drake Nevis a sneaky-good offseason find?
1. Can A.J. Klein supplant Chase Blackburn on the weak side?2. How vocal will Luke Kuechly be in his ‘new’ leadership role?3. Will Thomas Davis continue to practice without a knee brace?4. Can D.J. Smith get back to his pre-injury form?5. How many of the offseason signees will make a case for a roster spot?
1. Will anyone challenge Antoine Cason and Melvin White at outside corner?2. Will the light turn on — and stay on — for Josh Norman?3. How limited will Charles Godfrey be?4. Is Bene Benwikere ready to start at nickel if Godfrey struggles in his return?5. Will Josh Thomas and/or James Dockery make a case to hang around another season?
1. Can Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud bounce back from down years?2. Can Robert Lester back up his solid rookie season?3. How healthy is Tre Boston?4. Can Boston make up for the time he missed during offseason workouts?5. Will Colin Jones get more snaps with the defense?
1. Who’s going to return kickoffs?2. Who’s going to return punts?3. Who will replace Jordan Senn as the special teams leader?4. How many units can Tyler Gaffney earn a spot on?5. Which bubble guys have a chance to stick on the roster because of special teams?
1. How much input will senior offensive assistant John Ramsdell have?2. Can Ron Rivera and secondary coach Steve Wilks help Cason get back to the level he played at when they were in San Diego together?3. Will defensive line coach Eric Washington be able to accelerate Ealy’s adaptation to the pro game?4. Which cuts from other teams will the coaches bring in?5. How many times will @RiverboatRonHC tweet?
- Yup, Rivera’s Twitter account, which was opened in May, is now active. It doesn’t appear he’s the one actually tweeting … yet. — Twitter
- “I appreciate that organization for taking a chance on little ol’ Captain Munnerlyn.” — AL.com
- Stephen Davis Jr. may follow in his father’s footsteps. — AL.com
- Another link from Alabama, where Mario Addison and Joe Webb did a nice thing. — WVTM
- Newton’s favorite dessert … is a cereal. — TheNewPotato.com
- Remember Brett Basanez? A bit of a random gig here for the former Panthers’ quarterback. — Charlotte49ers.com
- “I’ll be shocked if Carolina doesn’t get the steal of the draft.” — 247sports.com
- A smart and fair Panthers preview by Frank Schwab. — Shutdown Corner
- An interesting read on the company that built Bank of America Stadium’s new scoreboards. — New York Times
- NFL Network will be at Fan Fest Friday and in Spartanburg Monday. — nflcommunications.com