Observations from Carolina Panthers training camp in Spartanburg:
▪ Kelvin Benjamin in this year’s camp looks a lot like the Benjamin that wowed with a 1,000-plus yard rookie season and disappointed with several drops last year. He’s had a few drops already this camp, but he hauled in a deep Derek Anderson pass for a touchdown against Tre Boston that drew the biggest cheer of the day on Thursday. Ron Rivera has said multiple times he’s pleased with Benjamin’s weight now after he reported in the spring 8-9 pounds overweight.
▪ Cornerback Bené Benwikere (hamstring) did a lot of work with the defensive backs in individual drills, and the aim is still for him to return to camp next week when he can do everything without restrictions.
▪ A helicopter landed very closely to the practice field Thursday morning. Word eventually leaked out that it was high-ranking staffers with Lowe’s, a corporate sponsor of the Panthers’ camp.
▪ The offense looked slightly better in the red zone Thursday than it did Wednesday. Newton fired a strike to Jarrett Boykin (who had his best day of camp) for a touchdown near the goal line.
▪ Kyle Love got first-team reps at defensive tackle in place of Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, and held up well along the interior.
▪ Josh Norman had an acrobatic interception in one-on-one drills against Boykin. Joe Webb lobbed a pass and it was slightly short, and Norman elevated for the pick while securing it despite a hard fall.
▪ Nickel corner Colin Jones showed great closing speed on a reverse to speedy receiver Damiere Byrd. Jones caught Byrd and pushed him out of bounds.
▪ Thomas Davis had a great interception when Newton tried to dump a pass to Greg Olsen. Olsen wasn’t expecting the ball and Davis flashed quick hands to get the interception.