The Panthers have a three-day workweek before their summer break.
The minicamp practices that begin Tuesday are essentially an extension of the final phase of OTAs practices, with one significant exception: Players can be fined for not showing up.
There’s no live contact and players will not be in full pads. Still, the three-day minicamp offers a final opportunity to work on some things before the team reconvenes in Spartanburg next month.
A look at five things the Panthers will try to accomplish.
1. Get Norv Turner’s offense cranked up.
We’ll get a much better feel for how and where players are fitting into Turner’s scheme at Wofford. But a healthy Cam Newton — who missed all of minicamp and a lot of training camp last year following shoulder surgery — figures to enjoy zinging the ball around in Turner’s vertical stretch passing game.
Newton typically takes his backs, receivers and tight ends to the Under Armour campus in Baltimore for summer throwing sessions. But the Panthers’ QB will have three days this week to continue working on his timing with first-round pick D.J. Moore and other receivers.
2. Figure out where Curtis Samuel stands healthwise.
Samuel, the wideout who was a second-round pick in 2017, is coming off a serious ankle injury that required surgery in November. Samuel has been slowly progressing throughout OTAs but is still not 100 percent.
The Panthers certainly don’t want Samuel to suffer any setbacks this week. But if the former Ohio State standout can take another step forward, Ron Rivera and his staff could have a better idea of what to expect from Samuel in training camp.
3. Develop some rhythm up front.
The Panthers have four-fifths of their offensive line back from last season, although the departure was significant — All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell.
Offensive line coach John Matsko has been getting several players snaps at guard this spring, including free agent acquisition Jeremiah Sirles, veteran Amini Silatolu and Tyler Larsen.
Larsen started 15 games at center the past two seasons filling in for the injured Ryan Kalil, whose health will be one of the keys to the Panthers’ offense this season. Kalil needs reps alongside Larsen or whoever takes Norwell’s old spot, although it’s not worth getting Kalil hurt in June.
4. Find another dependable defensive end.
Julius Peppers hasn’t been around much for OTAs, and the 38-year-old doesn’t figure to be overly involved in minicamp.
That means more opportunities for three young edge rushers — second-year pro Bryan Cox Jr., 2017 third-round pick Daeshon Hall and Marquis Haynes, a fourth-round pick this year.
Hall’s rookie season was a wash after the Texas A&M product went on IR with a knee injury that limited him to a total of nine snaps (all in the opener at San Francisco).
Peppers, Mario Addison and Wes Horton all look like roster locks. But that leaves an opening for one of the young players to show new defensive coordinator Eric Washington he can be part of the rotation at end.
5. Narrow the options at the second CB spot.
Again, this process will continue in earnest in Spartanburg. But Rivera and Washington will want to head to camp with a good idea of who will start opposite third-year cornerback James Bradberry.
Based on the snaps at OTAs, Kevon Seymour looks like he’ll get the first crack at it. The former Buffalo corner should benefit from having a full off-season with the Panthers after arriving just before last season via trade.
But a couple of other young corners look like they’re going to give Seymour competition at camp — second-round pick Donte Jackson and ex-Broncos CB Lorenzo Doss. Veteran Ross Cockrell also could be a factor.