The timing of the decision has drawn some scrutiny as Newton played out the string last season despite the shoulder issue. General Manager Dave Gettleman said Newton wanted to play and the medical staff said he could to explain the team’s decision. Coach Ron Rivera noted that there’s a general aversion to having your quarterback undergo surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary while adding that he thinks the offseason sets up to be a positive for Newton.
“I think the rest will be good for him. I think it’ll help to clear his mind and refocus. I think part of it also is rebuilding that confidence,” Rivera said to Judy Battista of NFL Media. “I think his confidence was shook. I think there were a lot of things that went on last year that did create that situation for him to feel that way, starting with the offensive line.”
How much the 2017 offensive line will inspire confidence remains to be seen as its strength is somewhat contingent on new left tackle Matt Kalil, last year’s original left tackle Michael Oher and center Ryan Kalil returning to both health and form. If they don’t, peace and mind will be in short supply in Carolina’s pocket once again.