Ron Rivera says Cam Newton will be on pitch count as Panthers camp opens

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Over half of the teams in the NFL are officially gathering their full rosters for training camp Wednesday, among them the Carolina Panthers.

In his first meeting with media, Panthers coach Rob Rivera offered a little news on the team’s franchise quarterback.

‘His reps will be monitored’

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that quarterback Cam Newton's training camp workload will be monitored. (Getty Images)

Rivera said that Cam Newton will essentially be on a pitch count as the team begins practices.

Newton, you’ll recall, underwent a right shoulder surgery in late January to clean up some cartilage damage.

“We have a plan; obviously it’s going to be structured around our [offensive] installation, so based on the things we have, as far as going in with our install, will dictate what he does,” Rivera said.

“All of his reps will be monitored, they’ll be scripted out, and we’ll follow that pattern as we go through it.”

Rivera said he sat down with offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Scott Turner, who is quarterbacks coach and Norv’s son, and the medical staff this week to discuss the plan for Newton and how it would be implemented.

In addition to monitoring the number of throws, the staff will be checking in with Newton every morning.

“We believe he’s ready to roll,” Rivera said. “He had a good offseason, he had a good break from what we’re being told. The proof is in the pudding; we’ll be able to see tomorrow.”

‘The wheels fell off’

Newton underwent the clean-out after “nagging” pain for much of last season led to him not being able to throw well and effectively derailing the Panthers’ promising season.

Midway through the season, Carolina was 6-2, but in part because of Newton’s issues, they tumbled over the second half of the season and finished 7-9.

Newton started the first 14 games, but once the team was knocked out of playoff contention he sat, and his backups Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen started the final two games.

In a February video, Newton revealed the extent of his discomfort.

“Like, I couldn’t throw the ball more than 30 yards. No lie,” he says. “I was trying to keep up with it as much as possible, until the wheels fell off. I felt like defenses were exposing me because they knew I couldn’t throw the ball downfield.

“Not being in the position physically to make the throws you know you’re capable of making, that was the most disheartening thing out of the whole year.”

Seeing people doubt him, Newton added, fuels him and might “make me even more dangerous.”

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