Earlier this offseason, Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton underwent surgery to repair a nagging ankle injury, and he was fully cleared about two weeks ago after still feeling a little bit of pain. Newton’s recovery has gone very smoothly over the past few months, and there’s no doubt that he’s fully healthy. Newton showed a little bit of rust at the beginning of the team’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was locked in by the end of the game and led two touchdown drives.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s David Newton, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stated that the ankle surgery has actually helped Cam Newton become a better quarterback. How? Rivera explains, “In an interesting way, this might have been the best thing to happen to him in terms of his pure quarterbacking development. He’s had to stay in the pocket. He’s had to have good footwork. He’s had to step into his throws.”
The Panthers have stated that they aren’t interested in restricting Newton’s rushing attempts, but his 111 carries last season were lower than his totals of 126 and 127 in his first two seasons. It’s possible we could see his rushes dip under triple digits as his passing becomes more efficient. Over the past year, Newton has made major strides as a passer, as he’s doing a better job of seeing the whole field and has reportedly displayed much better technique in training camp. If Kelvin Benjamin can turn his scorching August into regular season success, then the Panthers passing attack could actually be significantly better this season despite the mainstream narrative stating otherwise.