After a less than stellar first outing that featured no touchdown passes, Cam Newton and the Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home — a spot that the 2015 NFL MVP excels in.
Last week in a 30-27 loss to the Rams to kick off the season, Newton completed 25 of 38 passes for 239 yards and an interception. And Newton wasn’t his normal productive self running the ball, with three caries for negative-two yards.
However, a matchup against the team’s NFC North rival should be a situation that Newton excels in, having won nine of the last 12 matchup against the Bucs with 29 of his touchdowns passes coming against Tampa Bay.
Here is some must-know’s and advice on if Cam Newton is a start or sit for Week 2.
Cam Newton Shakes Off Injury Concerns, Needs to Take More Shots Downfield
Of his 38 attempts, Newton threw just one pass that traveled 20-plus yards beyond the line of scrimmage against the Rams. It brought to the forefront concerns about the QB’s shoulder, which he had surgery on in the offseason. He had said that it kept him from unleashing the long ball at the end of the year last season, missing the final two games.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Newton was “not limited in any way,” and Newton agreed, saying he’s simply taking what the defense gives him.
“If it’s going to hinder us from winning, I don’t want to throw it. But if it’s going to make us win,” Newton said before busting out an impression of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, “‘Oh, baby,’ you better throw some doggone deep balls.”
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians certainly expects Newton to air it out a little more.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it or he wouldn’t be playing,” Arians told reporters. “He’s got all his tools. He’s ready to go.”
But even if Newton doesn’t decide to show off his long ball, he’s got one of the game’s best pass catching backs at his disposal in Christian McCaffery, who can turn a short catch into a massive gain.
“He told me straight up, he said one of his goals is to have 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards rushing,” Cam Newton told reporters this week.
Cam Newton a Firm Start in Week 2 Against Bucs
At this point, there’s simply too much upside to leave Newton on the bench. He put up a stinker in Week 1, but should be in for a bounce back spot here.
He also sounds eager to prove his critics wrong.
“You are only asking me because of my shoulder,” Newton told a reporter this week about his penchant for check-downs in Week 1. “How about this, talk to the defensive coordinator for Tampa and ask if they don’t think I can throw the ball over 20 yards and see how far that gets you?”
Put Cam in your lineup against the Bucs in primetime on Thursday night, where he will be eager to show that he’s still got it.