- It was revealed this week that running back Jonathan Stewart underwent surgeries on both ankles this offseason. (We previously only knew about one.) Listening to coach Ron Rivera this week, there was a sense Stewart might not be ready for camp. It's a shame Stewart never has fully lived up to his potential.
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It's never a good sign when the coaching staff starts talking up Armanti Edwards as a realistic option at wide receiver or hope that Ted Ginn Jr. can be more than a specialist. From top to bottom, Newton's set of receiving weapons rate as below average. It's not a group that can consistently win one-on-one matchups. An injury to Smith would be devastating for this offense.
If Newton is going to take the next big step in his development, he'll have to make the other players around him better.
- Rivera's defense quietly improved from awful to average in his second year as head coach. There is a chance to make the leap to a top-10 unit this season because of their front seven. Few teams have a better set of pass rushers than Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. A healthy Jon Beason (crossing fingers) paired with a maturing Luke Kuechly at linebacker could be scary. There still are questions at defensive tackle, but Rivera should be able to generate pressure and stop the run. That's good because ...
- The secondary is as talent-poor as any group in the NFL. The most talented player at cornerback or safety in Carolina is ... Charles Godfrey? Not a lot of options.