Will Cam Newton start for Panthers against Washington?
Matt Rhule spoke to the press ahead of Sunday's football action and gave an update on his new man, his arm, and the likelihood of him starting.
Ahead of the Carolina Panthers' Week 11 clash with the Washington Football Team, much of the attention at Wednesday’s press conference with head coach Matt Rhule was on Cam Newton’s potential start.
Trending in Cam Newton’s direction
It was huge news earlier this month when the Panthers' former top draft pick re-joined after over a decade from the last time he put pen to paper, playing his last game in 2019. Now, returning from the New England Patriots, a question on everyone’s lips was whether or not the coach was going to throw him in from the start for this Sunday’s game.
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“I think we’re trending that way, but will probably wait until later in the week to pull the trigger on that," Rhule replied before highlighting the performance of PJ Walker.
"I know we've talked a lot about Cam, and I get it, but I think a lot of us would say that PJ played pretty well today. We brought Cam here to play, there is no doubt about that. He knows that. And this is an amazing opportunity for PJ. I just want to make sure, with everyone asking, 'Why is he here?' and, 'Why did you keep him as your backup?'
“That's why. I have a lot of faith.”
Focusing back onto his returning man, Rhule gave some hints that we could well see him slide straight into that starting berth, but there is still plenty of time to make a final call.
“The thing with Cam is that everything is on the right schedule. A couple of plays, he pulled the trigger on the deep ball today. We threw the sprint out with him. He will have to get into it this week and learn more and more and more.
“I’m not a big hypothetical guy. I'll walk in tomorrow, and someone's got a sprained ankle, so I kind of deal with it now. I'm just focused on this game. It was fun to have those guys out there. It was just about today for me.”
Cam Newton "is a weapon"
Featuring against the Cardinals in the last outing, and throwing a short touchdown to boot, Rhule knows what he has at his disposal.
"Obviously, Cam is a weapon. We’re going to use him a lot of different ways.
“He did what he did today off two practices, really a day of practice. As we move forward, I hope you guys understand, I'm probably not going to answer many schematic questions. I only have a couple of advantages and that's one of them. We had two guys [referring to Walker and Newton] that played excellent at that position today, so we'll mix and match play.
“It was certainly a jolt in the arm today."
The Panthers face Washington at 1pm ET on Sunday following their convincing 34-10 win over the Cardinals. Sitting 5-5 this is a crucial match-up and they know that 3-6 WFT are also coming into this off an impressive showing against the Bucs.