Because like Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, there’s a chance the Panthers’ starter might sit out the preseason opener too.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Panthers coach Ron Rivera hedged when asked about Newton playing in Friday’s opener, saying he wanted to wait and see how Newton felt after Thursday’s practice.
“I’m not going to say yes and all of a sudden he’s not going to. And I’m not going to say no and all of a sudden he’s going to,” Rivera said. “I’ve been told, in talking with the trainers, that we can’t make a decision right now.”
Newton hasn’t missed a practice in training camp after having surgery in March to tighten loose ligaments in his ankle. But he also hasn’t been scrambling much in team drills, with Joe Webb doing most of that.
If Newton does play, it won’t be much, and Rivera admitted: “And I imagine it’d involve a lot of handing the ball off.”
Much like in Dallas, an entire plan is being built around the quarterback being healthy and productive. And until the Panthers see Newton able to be Newton, there’s still going to be some breath-holding.