After he threw for the first four days of training camp, the Panthers shut down quarterback Cam Newton when he had some soreness in his surgically repaired right shoulder.
Sunday, he started throwing a few medium-length passes on the side, but hasn’t resumed running a full practice yet.
While Panthers coach Ron Rivera isn’t eager to get into timetables with any injured player, he has to be aware the heightened level of interest in his former MVP. And because they’re adjusting their offense this offseason, he also understands the need to have Newton as involved as possible, even if his only snaps with the first offense are running plays.
“It’s important to get all of our people back out there on the football field so we see who’s out there and watch our projected starters work together, that’s probably the most important thing,” Rivera said, via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. “That’s why, in certain opportunities, we’ll get Cam out there with the ones.
“Sure, it’s a running play. But it’s his cadence, and his timing in terms of seeing guys, the motions with him, getting the backfield set, audibles. So it’s important that all of the guys are out on the football field as much as they can be right now. And we’ve got to build it up, start getting ready for the opener on Sept. 10.”
So if the Panthers see Newton on the field at all Wednesday against the Texans, it probably would be for no more than a few handoffs. The Panthers are hoping to ramp up his activity a bit this week, but will follow the ebbs and flows of post-surgery pain and soreness.
The Panthers have also been missing second-round pick Curtis Samuel for all but one practice in camp because of a hamstring issue, and left tackle Matt Kalil has missed time with a groin injury. So if their “evolution” takes a little more time, it’s probably to be expected.