Should Cam Newton start for the Panthers next week?

Carolina Panthers

With Kyle Allen being exposed on Sunday, should Cam Newton start for the Carolina Panthers next week?

With Cam Newton (foot) out, the Carolina Panthers were 5-0 with Kyle Allen as their starting quarterback heading into Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. But against one of the league’s top defenses, Allen was sacked seven times and threw three interceptions in a 51-13 loss.

Newton had been expected to practice coming out of Carolina’s Week 7 bye. That didn’t happen, but he did travel with the team for Sunday’s game and participated in pregame warmups. So a Week 9 return seems possible, even if head coach Ron Rivera will be elusive about it throughout the coming week.


A return to full health for Newton and a game where Allen struggled could be considered good timing for the Panthers. It could also be said that one bad game against a really good defense shouldn’t erase what Allen did over the previous five games.

A right shoulder injury derailed Newton’s 2018 campaign, and led to him being shut down for the final two games when the Panthers no longer had playoff possibilities. Pro Football Focus data shows the pretty stark split.

Allen’s PFF number splits are almost just as stark, divided by being under pressure or not before Sunday’s game.

It’s pretty simple. Allen was called on to mostly be a game manager when he stepped in as the starter for Newton. The 49ers were by far the best defense he has faced, and he was naturally exposed as a below average quarterback.

Newton, even if his full peak is never coming back, is as physically talented as any quarterback around and his running ability (assuming health and no hesitation to run) is nearly unrivaled. It also should be noted he competed a career-best 67.9 percent of his passes last year.

Next: 5 potential landing spots for Cam Newton in 2020

There’s really no quarterback controversy in Carolina. If he’s healthy enough to play, Newton should start in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans. If he’s not quite ready to go for next Sunday, then Newton should start whenever he is ready to go.

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