To get the Panthers back to the playoffs, Cam Newton needs a few more weapons to work with. Ron Rivera intends to get him some.
Following an epic collapse in the midst of the 2018 season — one that saw the Carolina Panthers lose seven straight games after starting 6-2 — head coach Ron Rivera has some serious work to do in order to get the Panthers ready for 2019.
Hoping for a bounce back season and a return to the playoffs, Rivera is determined to make some changes. At this point, the most important thing he can do is get some help and protection for quarterback Cam Newton, who will be 30 years old next season.
Newton is considered one of the top tier quarterbacks in the NFL, having been the signal caller for Carolina since 2011. Yet, that illustrious Super Bowl ring still eludes him. He came close to winning it all in 2015, until the Panthers were shut down and dominated by an all-time elite Denver Broncos defense.
Ever since then, Newton and the Panthers have yet to recapture the magic. To do that in 2019, in addition to some offensive line help, Carolina will need to surround Newton with more offensive weapons to go along with Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore. This rings especially true with tight end Greg Olsen nearing the age of 34.
With the NFL Draft coming up in a few short months, as well as free agency, Rivera is determined to find those additional weapons for Newton.
“We’ll look at guys that when the ball gets in their hands, they take the pressure off the quarterback,” Rivera said during an appearance on ESPN. “Whether it be a runner, a receiver, a tight end … We’re going forward knowing that we’ve got to do things to make our team better, and first and foremost is we’ve got to protect the quarterback and put playmakers around him.”
Though some might argue that Newton has lost a step in the last couple of seasons, even the best quarterbacks can’t find much success without the help of at least one or two gritty playmakers — and that could be what stands between the Panthers and another Super Bowl appearance.
If Rivera can get Newton one or two more of those playmakers, then Newton can get back to proving that he’s still one of the NFL’s quarterbacks.