New throwing mechanics from quarterback Cam Newton weren’t visibly noticeable with the naked eye during the Carolina Panthers first two days of minicamp.
Newton threw publicly for the first time since his shoulder surgery on Tuesday, in front of media and a live stream broadcasted by the team.
The hype surrounded Newton after NFL Network's Ian Rappoport reported on Monday that Newton, 30, was set to "unveil new mechanics."
The excitement quickly dialed down on the team's first day of minicamp. Newton threw just over a dozen stationary passes during the team's first 30 minutes of practice.
On Wednesday, Newton once again threw stationary passes with a couple of targeted passes to running backs and wide receiver Torrey Smith.
"He did exactly what we had scripted out," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He's going through the process and the steps for his recovery. I'm very pleased with it."
While it wasn't noticeable, second-year quarterbacks coach Scott Turner says the changing of throwing mechanics has been a work in progress for Newton, even dating back to last season.
"It started specifically last year with his footwork of just keeping compact. Making sure his feet and his eyes were working together," Turner said. "That’s where we really started and then it has carried over into this offseason as far as making him a little more compact in his upper body, a little bit more closed-off so he’s not as open throwing the ball."
Newton underwent arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder in January to alleviate pain. It’s the same shoulder he had a torn rotator cuff in 2017.
"I've coached a lot of quarterbacks and I haven't really coached one who hasn't had some issues with their shoulders," Turner said. "I don’t know that how he threw was any different than guys I’ve had in the past, but I do know that going forward, Cam is fully committed to doing everything he can to be the best player he can be and then take care of himself.”
Whether it’s a pitcher or a quarterback, creating stress in the arm is inevitable.
Therefore, keeping things compact won't completely eliminate future injuries, but there are smaller mechanics that will give Newton a chance to extend his career.
Criticisms have surrounded Newton his entire career for putting his weight on his back leg while throwing, which many believe is the reason for his inconsistency in being accurate.
"The biggest thing is having your hips in the direction of where you're throwing," Turner said. "You want your lower body in the general direction of where you are throwing. If it moves in the opposite direction you put more stress on your upper body and you have to correct it with your arm."
While Turner wouldn't blatantly say that Newton has been throwing the ball of his back foot, that indeed can cause a quarterback to have shoulder issues.
"You strike the ground with your back foot to generate power, then it moves through your hips into your upper body," Turner said. "If you put your weight on your back foot, the weight isn’t transferring and the power isn’t. Now Cam is a big, strong guy and he can still get the ball out there. But yes, we work on it. Sometimes there’s a big, 300-pound guy and your weight ain’t going forward. You have to make it work a little bit.
Speculation will undoubtedly continue throughout the offseason on how Newton's rehab is going and whether or not he can actually change his mechanics, but whether anything is actually different won't be visible until Newton suits up in the preseason.
“It’s not that different,” Turner said. “It’s just as far as his set up, the way he starts and being more closed off. The work now until the season is going to build that muscle memory.”