Five things we've learned about Kelvin Benjamin's shape, Michael Oher's future, more – Charlotte Observer

As hard as Roger Goodell has tried to make the NFL a 365-days-a-year celebration – “Let’s have a schedule release party! I’ll bring the guac!” – he has not yet found a way to fill the five-plus weeks between the end of minicamps and the start of training camps.

If you’re reading or hearing much about your favorite team from late-June through mid-July, it’s usually not a good thing: “Oh, crap, Steve Smith broke his arm playing flag football.”

The Panthers wrapped up a hot, muggy minicamp last Thursday, after which a lot of players not named Christian McCaffrey fled the premises. McCaffrey and the other rookies are allowed to hang around Bank of America Stadium for another week, as long no coaches try to school them on the intricacies of pass protections.

There will be news that pops up between now and July 26 when the Panthers report to Spartanburg. Team officials just hope the headlines read something like “Cam Newton takes next step in his recovery” than anything involving the word, “setback.”

In the meantime, here are five takeaways from the Panthers’ three weeks of organized team activities (OTAs) practices and three days of minicamp:

1. Kelvin Benjamin looks to have worked his way back into shape.

Whatever Benjamin tipped the scales at in April – Ron Rivera says it wasn’t 280 pounds, although he might have been touching 270 – the fourth-year wideout seemed to get the message Rivera sent publicly after the draft.

Look, Benjamin is never going to be skinny. The pounds stick to his 6-5 frame like molasses.

But Benjamin needs to show up to Spartanburg looking like he did the final day of minicamp, when he reached down to pluck a pass a couple inches off the grass and got both feet

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