The Panthers have enjoyed a very productive offseason, but none of it means anything if Cam Newton isn’t healthy in 2019. Fortunately, he’s now pain-free.
There’s nothing more important to the Carolina Panthers this offseason than the health of quarterback Cam Newton. Head coach Ron Rivera has no chance of enjoying a successful campaign without a big season from his signal caller. Fortunately, all indications point to Newton being 100% when the 2019 regular season begins.
The former Auburn star probably won’t be a full participant when the team’s mini camp open on Tuesday, but he will “throw in all quarterback drills.” That’s a big change compared to where he was when last season ended. The pain in Newton’s shoulder robbed him of the ability to drive the ball down the field during the second half of his 2018 campaign. Not coincidentally, Newton’s ineffectiveness coincided with a complete and utter swoon by the Panthers.
There were even rumblings that Newton might be forced to sit out an entire season after he underwent shoulder surgery back in January. His current status eliminates that possibility unless he suffers a massive setback. The logical progression for him now will be to cautiously throw the ball during mini camp and then gradually increase his involvement during Carolina’s preseason activities. Panthers fans shouldn’t expect to see a ton of their franchise quarterback in preseason games, but the odds strongly favor him being a full-go when the regular season kicks off.
The Panthers did make a move to protect themselves in the event of a Newton setback during the draft. Spending a third round selection on Will Grier gives the team a player the organization believes they can groom into a high quality backup in time. With that being said, forcing him into meaningful action this season would put he and his team in a very precarious position.
As happy as Panthers fans are to hear the good news about Newton, no one is celebrating his progress more than Rivera and his coaching staff. It’s very possible that Carolina will need to, at the very least, reach the playoffs this season if Rivera wants to keep his job.
If Newton can enjoy a healthy and productive season it will allow the Panthers to become legitimate contenders for the NFC South crown. His good health is great news for fans in Carolina, but bad news for teams looking to knock the Panthers off this season.