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Panthers WRs set to catch Cam Newton's passes soon
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

The Panthers open training camp on July 26 but the receivers will begin working with quarterback Cam Newton next week in Charlotte, wideout Tiquan Underwood told USA Today on Thursday. 

"It's been more difficult because Cam's coming off an ankle injury and he had to get surgery, so we couldn't throw with him as much as we would like," Underwood said. " ... We're just going to try to speed up the process. We're all going to throw -- Derek Anderson, Cam Newton, Joe Webb, Matt Blanchard and all the receivers -- just to work on timing and get that down pat before camp."

Newton has barely practiced with his receivers this offseason as he's recovered from ankle surgery. Nearly all of his receivers are new to the Panthers -- Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Underwood all signed as free agents while Kelvin Benjamin was taken with the team's first-round pick.

Any chemistry Newton can develop with his receivers before camp starts would be considered a huge plus for the Panthers offense. 

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Byron Bell, Nate Chandler competing for left tackle job
by Larry Hartstein |

With Jordan Gross' retirement, the Panthers will have a new left tackle in 2014. The team's website says the competition is between Byron Bell, who started 14 games at right tackle last year, and Nate Chandler, who started six games at guard and two at right tackle.

Chandler is a converted defensive lineman who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2012.

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Cam Newton says he's been cleared
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton posted on his official Facebook page last week that he's been cleared to work out, though he added that he's not quite at 100 percent. He does expect to be ready for the start of training camp. Newton had offseason ankle surgery that sidelined him for pretty much the entire spring. 

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Benjamin talks playbook, adjusting to the pros
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin spent a little time with the Ross Tucker Football Podcast and mentioned how he's focused on playing the X in the offense and that he's at 245 pounds (up from 240 pounds at the combine). For Benjamin, learning the playbook and adjusting to the speed of the game have been key factors for him this offseason. 

"It really does speed up," Benjamin said of playing football in the pros versus in college. "You're not used to it. When I first got there, rookie training camp was pretty much the same. It was easy. I caught on real fast and I was making big plays. When I got to OTAs for the first two days I felt nervous and it was a faster pace because the real quarterbacks came in and were calling the plays much faster. So I really just had to go back in and study, get with Cam (Newton) and listen to the calls and after that it really slowed back down."

As for the playbook, Benjamin is focused on learning it so it doesn't slow him down once the games start. He did add that it was easy for him to catch on because the plays were based on routes, not concepts, which is something he had in high school. Benjamin is also allowed to change his route based on what the coverage is. 

Finally, Benjamin said he got work in with Newton after minicamp practices as well as during the final minicamp practice. When comparing Newton's arm to that of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Benjamin conceded that Newton throws a "powerful" ball. 

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Almost 50 catches for Tiquan Underwood?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

After a nice series of offseason workouts, Panthers receiver Tiquan Underwood was pegged by ESPN as a breakout candidate. That's because he'll fill the role previously held by Ted Ginn, a spot that caught 36 passes and five scores as a deep-ball receiver in 2013.

Underwood had 24 grabs and four touchdowns in a similar role with the Bucs last season, and with offensive coordinator Mike Shula familiar with his game and receivers coach Ricky Proehl pitching in, ESPN believes the potential is there for him to double his production

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