According to reports, Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. Newton will be inactive for Sunday’s game and backup Taylor Heinicke will be under center for the Panthers as they go toe-to-toe against the Atlanta Falcons.
Head coach Ron Rivera told media that he spoke with Newton regarding the matter and that he was understanding of it.
“It was a very good conversation with Cam,” Rivera said. “He understood and understood our thinking behind this. He’s disappointed. He’s frustrated. He wants to play. This is one of those things that we just had a great conversation. He understands going forward.”
This is somewhat of what coaches do in the NBA right before the playoffs. You tend to sit out your best players so that they can heal up their injuries and be ready for postseason basketball. However, the difference between that and this is the fact that the Panthers really don’t have a great shot at making the playoffs.
The 29-year-old quarterback and former MVP has been nursing a shoulder injury for quite some time now and hasn’t been the player we’re accustomed to seeing during the losing streak. So, you’d hope that what seems like conceding the season will allow Newton to get the necessary treatment to his shoulder and be set for next year.
The Panthers this season are 6-8 and are currently riding a six-game losing streak. During this skid, Newton has thrown at least one interception in every game and had a four interception performance in a losing effort against the Buccaneers.
In addition, if you saw Newton’s performance against the New Orleans Saints, you knew that if there was ever a time to shut him down it may be now.
Newton finished with his worst statistical output of the season in nearly every category: Completion percentage (55.2); passing yards per attempt (4.5); passing yards (131) and passer rating (52.5). He also didn’t throw a single touchdown in the contest. After the game, Newton was frustrated and wished he knew what to do regarding his shoulder.
“I wish I could say what the injury is because I don’t really know what it is either,” Newton stated. “No matter how much you push, no matter how much you ice, the anti-inflammatory you take. Trust me, I’ve done it. Acupuncture, massages. There’s not a night that goes by without me getting some type of work done on my arm.”
“Of course you try to stay under 25, 30 throws, but if you surpass that or you get hit on it or you have to run or you get tackled and fall on your shoulder, certain things happen,” he continued. “That’s the game of football. As far as stiffness, just muscle tension, there’s a lot going on. At the end of the day it’s not something that hasn’t got worse over the weeks or hasn’t got better over the weeks. It’s just been the same.”
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Newton has completed only nine passes of at least 20 yards this season, which ranks 29th in the league. However, even with the shoulder injury ailing him this season, he has completed a career-best 67.9 percent of his passes under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Newton came into the season with a career completion percentage of 58.5.
Rivera is holding on to this possibility that Carolina can pull off a miracle and make the playoffs. However, they’re doing the right thing by sitting Newton out. Hopefully he will be able to come back healthy and be ready to lead the Panthers next season.