Sportress of Blogitude

Cam Newton on track to start Thursday’s exhibition vs. Jaguars

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday said Cam Newton is on track to be the starting quarterback in the team’s preseason match-up Thursday with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“A big part of it will be as long as he’s not tired or fatigued, we should be fine,” Rivera said, via the News & Observer. “We’ll see how he is after (Wednesday) morning and make a determination.”

Newton was a full participant during Tuesday’s practice, making it consecutive days he has done so. And multiple dispatches indicate the 28-year-old looked sharp.

 

The Panthers signal-caller was held out of the Panthers’ first two exhibition games as he continued rehabbing his throwing shoulder following surgery for partially torn rotator cuff.

Newton’s reps Tuesday came against the scout team, but Rivera was encouraged by what he saw.

“He’s starting to get it back,” Rivera said. “We’re trying to practice fast and create as close as we can the game simulation. … You can see the timing coming back.”

Rivera indicated Newton isn’t likely to play as long as other Panthers starters on offense, who are expected to play into the third quarter. But the coach seems intrigued by getting a look at the quarterback working with an upgraded offense highlighted by the arrival of Christian McCaffrey, among others.

“It should be fun. I’m confident that this group can come together,” Rivera said. “And the sooner they all get out there and work together, the quicker we’ll know.”

The Panthers have been understandably cautious with Newton throughout training camp and the team’s offseason program. Newton was absolutely pummeled over the course of last season’s disappointing 6-10 campaign. And his performance suffered immensely because of it.

Keeping their franchise quarterback healthy is obviously of the utmost importance for the Panthers. But the team needs to see what Newton can do on the field before the 2017 NFL season opens with a Sept. 10 showdown against the San Francisco 49ers.

That said, expect Newton to get some work in Thursday against the Jaguars before making an early exit.