According to team sources, the Panthers plan to start rookie QB Cam Newton on Thursday vs the Cincinnati Bengals. This will give Newton a taste of an NFL game week, as the Panthers are handling this week the same they would during the regular season as far as preparations go.
Newton had a rough game against the Dolphins last week– as did the rest of the team, but he looked strong as far as decision making was concerned, and stayed away from making the dangerous passes that can result in interceptions.
“The thing he has got to continue to do is he has got to make good decisions,” said head coach Ron Rivera on Panthers.com, “We had an opportunity to break the tape down and really saw some good things. It didn’t show, obviously, but the biggest thing was he was making good decisions. Any time you see the guy make the decisions that you’re supposed to make, the next part of it is delivering the ball on time, the next part of it is hitting the receiver in stride.”
Rivera was also adamant, however, that Newton is not going to be named the starter for the regular season any time soon. Newton will play three quarters on Thursday night (as will the rest of the offensive and defensive starters), then Jimmy Clausen will once again get a chance to take some snaps and attempt to state his case for the starting job.
“[He is] the starter for this Thursday. We’re still in the evaluation process to be quite honest. After having gone through the game, where we did some good things but not enough, the big that that we have to do is continue to evaluate the situation and circumstances,” Rivera wrote.
“We’ve only really gone through about three-and-a-half, four weeks of training camp, so to rush into a decision I think would be kind of absurd. What we want to do is see how he handles this whole game week preparation.”