Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was able to survive his first game on a rebuilt left ankle, and even ran around a bit.
But as much as Panthers coach Ron Rivera holds his breath when Newton takes off, he also knows that that’s who Newton is, and when Newton’s at his best.
“I’m going to yell at him because I want him to get rid of the ball. But if he runs, he runs,” Rivera said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do to protect himself. He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do to make plays. So if he runs, then I think it’s a great sign.”
Newton grinned and said he wasn’t much of a slider, but Rivera said his quarterback will need to adapt
“[Hornets owner] Michael Jordan used to go to the hole all the time and dunk,” Rivera said. “But if you ask Michael, he realized that later in his career, he had to develop that jumper. So he went work at it. Cam’s the same way. He needs to develop as a passer.
“In an interesting way, this may have been the best thing that happened to him in terms of his pure quarterbacking development. He’s had to stay in the pocket, he’s had to have good footwork, he’s had to step into his throws. I think this has been a plus for him.”
That and a suspect offensive line will keep Newton on the move this year, and time will tell if he’s ready to.