Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton is coming off of an ankle injury that isn’t expected to be anything resembling an issue going forward, but head coach Ron Rivera still took the time to state that the team won’t limit the amount of times he runs. Although it’s important to make sure that a quarterback isn’t running to frequently in order to minimize their chances of getting hit and to ensure that they are playing at an efficient rate, Rivera realizes that the Panthers can’t take valuable runs away from Newton and restrict a critical dimension to their offense.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s David Newton,Rivera says that they don’t plan to limit his runs, because they view it as a weapon that shouldn’t be taken away. Newton had a career-low 111 rushing attempts last season, but he still averaged 5.3 yards per carry and had six rushing touchdowns. He had career-lows across the board as a rusher, but he was still very dangerous in that regard. Since he’s so big, Newton is less of a risk to get injured from a hit on a scramble, so it won’t make sense to push his carries lower.
The Panthers have massive needs around Newton, as they need to surround their young quarterback with better wide receivers and offensive tackles next season after losing Jordan Gross, Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, and Ted Ginn Jr. this offseason. They are expected to go WR or LT with the 28th overall pick, as those are clearly their two biggest needs. Per David Newton, Ron Rivera would rather go for a tackle to protect Newton than a WR, and Dave Gettleman stated at today’s press conference that the Panthers have first-round grades on roughly ten tackles and wide receivers combined.