Panthers give sidelined Cam Newton taste of calling plays for others

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton couldn't throw the ball, so Carolina Panthers coaches found something else for him to do Thursday during the final day of minicamp.

Newton spent a short bit of time beside offensive coordinator Mike Shula and being responsible for calling the offensive plays.

"We gave him control of the mics and he called plays," Coach Ron Rivera said. "He talked with Coach Shula, and they were moving the ball and Cam controlled it. He made calls. He communicated with the quarterbacks.

"He had a big smile on his face and said, 'I'm not sure if I like doing this. I'd much rather be told what to do.' That was something that was really good for him to see exactly what a play-caller goes through."

Still recovering from rotator cuff surgery March 30, the initial timeline for Newton start throwing over-the-shoulder was set for next week.

Rivera, who was hopeful Newton would throw during minicamp, said Thursday there is no indication that Newton is behind schedule.

"I’m overly optimistic about things, but I did try to leave ... a disclaimer last week to tell you that he will do what the doctors and what the trainers said," Coach Ron Rivera said. "At this point, he’s right where he needs to be. ... I'm hoping it's soon.

"It could be tomorrow. It could be next week."

Newton certainly stood out during camp, taunting defensive players after successful offensive plays.

"That’s all part of it," Rivera said. "If you can’t handle it out here on the field, you most certainly are not going to handle it in the game. At the same time, you also want to make sure we're focusing on what we need to get done."

Without Newton participating in drills and with running back Christian McCaffrey, the team's first-round draft pick, unable to participate for the first two days because of NFL rules requiring his school's academic year to end, it could appear the offense is a little behind.

Not so, said Rivera.

"Those guys haven't had the reps that they needed, but we installed exactly what we're going to install when we get to training camp," Rivera said. "I thought the instillation went very well.

"The players were able to regurgitate the things that they learned the first 10 practices of OTAs and the culmination the last three days."

The offense appeared to have a little bit of a chip on its shoulder during camp. Wide receiver Mose Frazier, a free-agent signee who spent time on practice squads of three teams last year, took a swing at Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Less than 10 minutes later, Frazier made a great catch for a touchdown in drills. Maybe he had to in order to keep a spot on the roster. Both acts were made under the eyes of team owner Jerry Richardson sitting in a golf kart making a somewhat rare appearance at practice.

"Mose isn’t going to take it from anybody," Rivera said. "At the same time, he's just got to be smart because he gets ejected, and if our guy throws, reacts to it, he gets ejected. That's basically what I told both those guys, 'Let's be smart, let's understand we have Panthers on our heads and let's not get thrown out of football games.'"