Munnerlyn expecting 'big things' from ex-teammate Newton

Tue Aug 13 3:06pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott yells during an NFL football training camp with the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers' Temarrick Hemingway, right, reaches for pass with Buffalo Bills' Dean Marlowe defending during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22) runs while Buffalo Bills' Vosean Joseph chases during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) hands off to Cameron Artis-Payne during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passes during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passes during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) laughs beside Christian McCaffrey (22) during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera speaks with Buffalo Bills' Micah Hyde (23) during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, right, speaks with Buffalo Bills' Kurt Coleman while Bills' Mike Love (56) and Shaq Lawson (90) look on during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Buffalo Bills' Ed Oliver puts on his pads prior to an NFL football training camp with the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly runs through drills during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) takes a snap during an NFL football training camp with the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen (88) runs a pass play while Buffalo Bills' Micah Hyde defends during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton jokes with a player during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) Captain Munnerlyn has no doubt that ex-teammate Cam Newton will bounce back from a shoulder injury in a big way this season.

All it took to convince Munnerlyn was watching Newton step up in the pocket and uncork a 50-yard strike to a streaking Curtis Samuel down the middle of the field, one of the biggest highlights of Tuesday's joint practice between the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills at Wofford College.

''It's like night and day - just night and day. His arm looks a whole lot better,'' said Munnerlyn, who played cornerback the last two seasons for Carolina before signing with the Bills.

Munnerlyn watched firsthand as Newton struggled with shoulder soreness during the second half of the 2018 season.

The Panthers QB could barely throw the ball 20 yards downfield and had to be subbed out on Hail Mary passes. Newton wound up missing the final two games before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January.

''You can tell he has been working,'' Munnerlyn said. ''To see him come back from that injury. ... I know it has been tough for him. But to see him come back like he has, I'm expecting big things from him.''

Along with the deep throw, Newton was effective running Carolina's hurry-up offense during one team drill, completing a series of short intermediate passes to keep the chains moving.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera also liked what he saw from Newton and the first-team offense in what was the first two of two practices against the Bills before the teams meet Friday night in a preseason game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

''Watching the offense I thought we handled some things pretty well,'' Rivera said. ''What is interesting is you get anxious and a little overhyped and I thought that was part of our problem early. Once our guys settled in and got into a little bit of a routine you felt a lot better about things.''

Other things from the joint Bills-Panthers joint practice:

ALLEN PICKING KUECHLY'S BRAIN

Both coaches emphasized to players to use the two days to learn as much as they could from the opposition, and Bills quarterback Josh Allen took that message to heart.

After practice Allen tracked down Carolina's Luke Kuechly and asked the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker why he reacted to a particular play during the 11-on-11 team period.

''I just wanted to know why he did what he did in a certain concept that we ran,'' Allen said. ''And he was asking what we were looking for and what our read is on that play was. So I took a couple of words from him.''

Allen called Kuechly one of the smartest players in the NFL and was eager to pick his brain.

''At the end of the day, we don't play each other this year (in the regular season) so we are just trying to make each other better,'' Allen said.

MORE MORSE

Bills center Mitch Morse was back in pads and wearing a red non-contact jersey on Tuesday, but remains in the concussion protocol. Bills coach Sean McDermott refused to speculate on how long it will be before Morse will be ready to play.

Morse has been sidelined since being diagnosed with a concussion on July 29, five days after the start of training camp.

BURNS' ANKLE

Panthers first-round draft pick Brian Burns left practice midway through practice and did not return. Trainers were treating Burns' ankle on the sideline, but Rivera said after practice he had no information on injuries.

Burns had a smashing debut for the Panthers this past Thursday night against the Bears with two sacks while starting at outside linebacker in the team's new 3-4 defense.

SAMUEL EVERYWHERE

It's becoming increasingly obvious that wide receiver Curtis Samuel is going to play a huge role in the Panthers offense this season. The versatile Samuel has lined up at a variety of positions and had as many touches Tuesday as anyone on the Carolina offense other than running back Christian McCaffrey.

''Coaches can call any play, but it's up to me to get open,'' Samuel said. ''As long as I'm getting open I'm going to get the ball.''

Player Notes
Marcus Mariota Aug 17 11:30pm ET

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota looked sharp in limited action against the New England Patriots on Saturday, completing 6-of-9 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown strike to tight end Delanie Walker. Mariota capped off a solid week of camp with a convincing performance, leaving no room for speculation about a quarterback competition in Tennessee. Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky went as far as to say "There is no circumstance under which a healthy Marcus Mariota is not the Week One starter in Cleveland. Period." While Mariota's job is not in question, his ability to be a consistent fantasy option at a position filled with options is. Mariota is nothing more than a low-end QB2 option going into his fifth season.

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Dontrelle Inman Aug 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Dontrelle Inman caught only one pass but it was a crucial 17-yard reception in the fourth quarter of the Patriots 22-17 comeback preseason win. The veteran had seen only one target before he made the catch but Inman came through in the clutch. Inman has bounced around the league the past few seasons and certainly will be a 'bubble' player as he fights for a spot in the final two preseason games.

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Brandon Bolden Aug 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden scored a 1-yard touchdown in the Patriots preseason victory over the Titans. Bolden registered only two yards on four carries but was able to convert in the red zone. Bolden is far down the running back depth chart on the Patriots but every year, it seems, he plays snaps during the regular season. Bolden will be not be fantasy viable unless multiple injuries hit the New England backfield.

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Damien Harris Aug 17 10:50pm ET

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris carried the ball 14 times for 80 yards and added 23 receiving yards in the Patriots 22-17 preseason win over the Titans. Harris has been a non-factor in the early portions of training camp but has been dealing with a wrist injury. Harris made some solid, tough runs and looked like the talented prospect the Patriots selected out of Alabama. Harris has pass-catching ability and could find himself in the mix of the running back carousel in New England if he can maintain consistency moving forward.

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Jakobi Meyers Aug 17 10:50pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers caught six passes for 82 yards in the Patriots 22-17 preseason win over the Titans. Meyers provided the only consistent offense in the passing game, joining teammate Damien Harris as the only players to post multiple receptions. Meyers made two key 10-yard receptions in the fourth quarter during a game-winning drive. The return of Josh Gordon makes things more complicated for players like Meyers but the 22-year-old is showing what he can do on the field.

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Lance Kendricks Aug 17 10:50pm ET

New England Patriots tight end Lance Kendricks caught his first pass as a Patriot, a 28-yard reception in the team's preseason win over the Titans. One catch normally is not significant but Kendricks is expected to play a role early on this season with starter Benjamin Watson suspended the first four games. The Patriots have enjoyed production from the tight end position for almost a decade now and Kendricks could benefit playing in New England's offensive system. This is a very small step, but a step nonetheless for Kendricks.

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Jarrett Stidham Aug 17 10:40pm ET

New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 14-of-19 passes for 193 yards, including a game-winning touchdown, in the Patriots 22-17 preseason win over the Titans. Stidham hit wide receiver Damoun Patterson down the left sideline for 23 yards to put the Patriots ahead for the first time in the game. It was an efficient performance for the fourth-round rookie, who is looking at starting the season as the third-string quarterback. It is impossible to say whether Stidham is the "future" at quarterback for the Patriots but should see plenty of snaps in the final two preseason games.

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Nick Brossette Aug 17 10:40pm ET

New England Patriots running back Nick Brossette totaled only 37 yards from scrimmage but scored a touchdown in his second straight preseason game against the Titans. Brossette's numbers have not been impressive but has executed in the red zone thus far in the preseason. Brossette will have to show more productivity than stuffing in one-yard touchdowns to be considered a serious factor when the regular season rolls around.

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Demetrius Harris Aug 17 8:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris was unable to corral either of his two targets in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Harris, who came over to Cleveland as a free-agent after spending five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, is expected to serve as the team's second tight end after David Njoku. Of course, Njoku is dealing with a knee injury, which will give Harris more run with the first team during preseason practices. The Browns should run more 12 personnel this season, which would get Harris on the field alongside Njoku in certain situations. Harris doesn't need to be drafted but he is worth monitoring just in case the Browns show that he is a significant part of their plans, especially in the red zone.

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Rashard Higgins Aug 17 8:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins turned in a solid game in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Higgins caught all four of his targets for 34 yards in the win. The veteran receiver has been productive during the preseason as he further cements himself as the team's No. 3 wide receiver. While he won't see a high volume of targets behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Higgins is likely to have a few big games this season on what should be an exciting Browns offense. Keep him in mind as a potential flex option in deeper fantasy leagues this season.

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Kareem Hunt Aug 17 8:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt saw two touches in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Hunt carried the ball twice for six yards and was unable to haul in his lone target in the win. The game action marked Hunt's preseason debut after he was not involved in the preseason opener last week. Hunt will begin serving an eight-game suspension once the regular season begins but he has some value as a flex option in PPR leagues when he does come back. Of course, using a draft pick on him will require a fantasy owner to keep him on the roster for over half of the fantasy regular season. That only seems like a viable plan in leagues with large roster settings.

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Greg Joseph Aug 17 8:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns kicker Greg Joseph missed a 53-yard field goal in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. The 53-yarder was Joseph's only field goal attempt in the game although he added an extra point. Joseph has been in a preseason camp battle with rookie Austin Siebert for the right to be the team's kicker during the regular season. Both have been pretty even during their battle, with Siebert also missing his lone field goal attempt against the Colts. Whoever wins the starting kicker role will have plenty of fantasy value tied to what should be an explosive Cleveland offense.

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Daniel Carlson Aug 17 7:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson had an impressive season with the Silver and Black in 2018 and is primed to improve in this campaign. After getting waived by the Vikings following Week 2, Carlson finished the last 10 games of the season with the Raiders setting a new team record with a 94% field goal succession rate. With an improved offense likely providing more point-after attempts and better field goal positioning, the former fifth-round pick could put up a considerable point total this year if he can stay in the 90% conversion range.

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Keelan Doss Aug 17 7:20pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Keelan Doss has turned a few heads through the team's first two preseason games. The undrafted rookie caught a touchdown pass in Week 1 and followed that performance with a five-catch 38-yard game in Week 2, making a case for a place on the 53-man roster. Doss is competing for one of the final roster spots at WR, but faces an uphill battle with only one spot available and three players ahead of him on the depth chart for the job. Even if the 23-year-old cracks the squad, he won't receive enough playing time to become a fantasy contributor in 2019.

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Doug Martin Aug 17 7:10pm ET

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Jalen Richard Aug 17 7:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard is coming off a successful 2018 campaign which saw him accumulate 55 rushes and 68 catches for 866 all-purpose yards. With the team using a first-round pick on Josh Jacobs, Richard finds himself third on the depth chart this season with a question mark surrounding his usage for this year. Richard was a huge factor in the passing game last season finishing seventh among running backs in receptions. With the coaching staff hopeful of Jacobs becoming an every-down back, Richard will struggle to find playing time on this improving offense. Unless Jacobs gets injured or struggles mightily as a pass-catcher, Richard won't hold any fantasy appeal in 2019.

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Andrew Luck Aug 17 4:33pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (ankle) worked out on the field before the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 17, and appeared to be moving around well.

Fantasy Spin: Luck is still uncertain for Week 1, so fantasy players will need to continue to keep an eye on his status. He is a No. 1 quarterback in fantasy leagues when he is healthy, but players may want to draft a strong No. 2 quarterback in case Luck misses a few games.

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Dee Ford Aug 17 4:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers DE Dee Ford (knee) is on track to play in Week 1, according to general manager John Lynch.

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Nick Chubb Aug 17 3:50pm ET

According to the Cleveland Browns pregame show, running back Nick Chubb is not expected to play on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts in his team's second preseason game. Chubb saw minimal work last week in the preseason opener as he played on the first series with the team and took one carry. Cleveland has little reason to risk injury to their No. 1 running back in the preseason, so Chubb will be a spectator. Look for Chubb to play more extensively in the preseason dress rehearsal next week.

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Baker Mayfield Aug 17 3:50pm ET

The Cleveland Browns will rest many of their starters in the team's second preseason game on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are among the starters who will be watching from the sidelines in the contest. Mayfield played sparingly during the preseason opener last week while Beckham has yet to appear in a preseason game as he is dealing with a hip pointer. Garrett Gilbert will draw the start at quarterback against the Colts on Saturday. Look for Mayfield to play a good bit in preseason Week 3 next week. Beckham's status is unclear, although he is unlikely to play.

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