Rivera: Cam Newton's return 'the first step of many'

Tuesday marked Cam Newton's return to throwing in front of reporters following the second shoulder surgery of his career in January.

Newton had reportedly reworked his throwing motion during the rehab process, a change that NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported had made those inside the Panthers building "giddy."

On Tuesday, Newton "unveiled" his tightened throwing mechanics during Carolina's first day of mandatory minicamp. Behold:

Per reporters on the scene in Charlotte, Newton threw around 30 passes during the roughly 25-minute session to stationary targets with a more compact motion; targets were not moving so that Newton could focus on keeping his throws in form, NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon reported.

It's only his first practice back, and there's no telling what Newton's throwing motion will look like come September when the bullets are flying, but the Panthers are impressed with the quarterback's progress regardless.

"The shoulder started to go (last season), then you started to see everything fall to the wayside. Now he has an opportunity to go back, rework those things, do the things that he needs to do to improve," Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters. "He's done a great job and we're really excited about it.

"As I said, this is just the first step of many and we're really looking forward to tomorrow to see how much more he's going to do."

The Panthers skipper added to Blackmon that Newton felt "very good" after practice.

Rivera couldn't offer any details regarding the specifics of Newton's reworked mechanics, joking, "I can give you a rundown on tackling." The Panthers coach did say that his message to Cam during minicamp is to keep doing what he's been doing.

"I'd like to see him continue to stick to his throwing technique," Rivera added. "The way he throws the ball, I think he throws a nice, tight spiral when everything is the way it's supposed to be and that's what he's working for so we're just excited to see him just grow and develop."

Carolina hopes Newton's return to form is twofold. A healthy Cam should give way to a productive Cam, like the one who was completing 67 percent of his passes with a 15:4 TD-INT ratio through the Panthers' first eight games in 2018, his first campaign under offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

Asked if Newton was back on track to playing how he did during the early fall of 2018, Rivera was definitive.

"Absolutely," the coach said. "As Norv said, I think the biggest thing moreso than anything else is you saw the growth, you saw the progression. He'll now be in the second year in the system. Understanding exactly what he needs to do as a quarterback, decisions he needs to make, is going to dictate a lot about his throwing style as well."

One day down, 88 to go until Carolina kicks off against the Los Angeles Rams. For Newton, that's 88 opportunities to improve and get right.