Cam Newton admitted he wasn’t himself yesterday, but he insisted he was physically well.
The Panthers quarterback had an up-and-down day in their loss to the Rams, but said his surgically repaired right shoulder wasn’t the problem.
“A little rusty. Just have to get on the same page with everybody,” Newton said, via Bill Voth of the team’s official website. “I wish I could have a couple throws back.”
Newton only played three series in the preseason (before giving them a scare with a foot sprain), throwing six passes. So there was little live game action to work with, and the results showed against the Rams. He was 25-of-38 for 239 yards and an interception.
There was also a noticeable lack of deep passes from a guy who used to routinely throw the football over the mountain, but only one of his attempts against the Rams was longer than 20 yards. He said that was more of a function of decision-making than physical ability.
“My body feels fine, and whatever play [was] called, I felt confident. I didn’t even think about my shoulder at no particular point. So I think that’s a good sign,” Newton said. “But I still got to stay on top of it, as well as my foot.”
Newton also didn’t run much or effectively, with just three carries for minus-2 yards, the only time in his career he didn’t rush for more than zero yards in a game.
“I wanted more than anything to be 1-0 after today, but at the end of the day, certain things do happen. Frustration does set in. Not being on the same page, not being connected to the same WiFi, whatever synonym floats your boat,” he said. “We didn’t have the start that we wanted to have. We’ve got to do a better job protecting the football.
“We had our opportunities to score more than three points that we lost by. That’s what it really comes down to. Through my lens right now, yeah I’m extremely frustrated, but at the end of the day, can’t do nothing about it but move forward to Tampa. And that’s what I plan on doing.”
The Panthers are built to complement him, so if he’s off, it’s going to create a collective struggle. And unless he can knock the rust off in four days, that’ll be concern in a short week against the Buccaneers.