One of the Carolina Panthers’ biggest storylines going into the 2019 NFL Regular Season was the fact that starting quarterback Cam Newton was fully recovered from his offseason shoulder surgery. Newton even said himself that he had not felt that excited since his rookie season. In Weeks One and Week Two, that looked evident, as Newton was slinging the ball all over the field.
Newton is the face of the Carolina Panthers franchise. No doubt about that. However, he has already been the subject of questionable play (and decision-making this season).
As you all may have seen in his pre-game walks into the stadium and his post-game press conference, Newton wears outfits that you might not think of being pieced together. While Newton is dressed very nicely, it is not an athlete’s usual choice of dress for before or after a game. Most times, you will see athletes wearing either suits and ties or if they choose to go the casual route, team sweatshirts and sweatpants. Newton’s outfit choices have fans questioning whether he is truly committed to leading the Panthers, or if he is more focused on his fashion. I think he is committed to leading the Panthers, but I am also curious about how Newton makes his outfit choices.
In the two games the Panthers have played this season, Newton has looked similar, yet different. In Week One, Newton struggled with ball security, as he threw an interception and lost a fumble. Newton threw for 239 yards but rushed for -2 yards. In Week Two, Newton did not throw an interception but lost a fumble for the second consecutive week. Newton threw for a total of 333 yards but did not record a rushing yard. Whether it is his personal choice or coaching decisions, he needs to start making use of his legs again. After all, he did set the NFL record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Now the bad news. Newton injured his foot in Week Three of the Preseason, and re-aggravated it in Thursday night’s loss to the Buccaneers, putting his status in jeopardy against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22. Second-year quarterback Kyle Allen or 2019 third-round pick Will Grier will be in line to start.
It looks as if now that Kyle Allen will get the start, as head coach Ron Rivera told reporters,
“the short term, yes, if that’s the direction we have to head.”
Allen is more than capable of leading the Panthers to victory, as he anchored a 33-14 destruction of their NFC South rivals, the New Orleans Saints. Fans may want to see Grier, too, as he earned a lot of hype coming into last year’s draft.
While I have no concern about the Panthers being able to win games, I do have a concern about Newton’s longevity as an NFL player. Per ESPN, from early on in the Bucs game, it was clear that something was not right. Newton had 15 off-target throws last week, the most since Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had in Week Seven last year.
If Newton keeps getting injured, the Panthers will have to move forward with Allen and Grier for the long-term. The Panthers could also decide to bring in a veteran quarterback to lead the team or look at next year’s draft. I was so high on Grier for a reason: he is a proven winner who was in Heisman Trophy talks before the 2018 season.
As of now, thankfully, it looks like Newton will be returning to the football field soon. His injury does not appear serious, but team officials and medical staff will keep an eye on that foot.
I hope that Super Cam returns to the field soon. He is a guy who is so passionate about what he does, and all he wants to do is lead his team to victory each and every week.