Panthers leaning against playing Cam Newton today

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Panthers coach Ron Rivera got the nickname “Riverboat” for taking chances.

But he’s leaning toward playing it safe with his franchise quarterback today.

A league source tells PFT that it’s still unlikely that Cam Newton plays today against the Buccaneers because of the rib injury suffered in Week Three of the preseason.

While the gamesmanship of will-he-or-won’t-he is something Rivera doesn’t mind, the reality is Newton hasn’t really practiced for two weeks. He threw a bit in front of reporters Friday, but his participation was still something other than full.

The fact that backup Derek Anderson went to the FOX production meeting last night wasn’t just a bluff, as Rivera was still on the fence.

Newton has been trying to talk his way into the lineup all week (though he’s not a fan of taking pain-killing shots), but the Panthers are trying to balance the long-term health considerations.

Barring some last-minute lobbying by his quarterback, however, the Panthers are still expected to play it safe.