As training camp dawns for Carolina, Ron Rivera said Wednesday that the former Auburn QB will have a pitch count in terms of his work at practice but otherwise “we believe he’s ready to roll,” the coach said, via the Associated Press.
“Well, we have a plan. Obviously it’s going to be structured around our installation, so based on the things that we have as far as going in with our install, will dictate what he does. All of his reps will be monitored, they’ll be scripted out and we’ll just follow that pattern as we go through,” Rivera said. “We believe he’ll be ready to roll. He had a good offseason, he had a good break from what we were told. Again, the proof will be in the pudding and we’ll see tomorrow exactly.”
The 30-year-old Newton, a three-time Pro Bowlselection, was shut down and put on injured reserve at the tail end of the 2018 season, missing the final two games after playing through shoulder issues. Previous to that, he had been sitting out practices starting around Week 8.
In January, Newton underwent the second shoulder surgery of his eight-year career. His comeback has been and will continue to be carefully plotted.
“We sat down with [head trainer] Ryan Vermillion the other day, myself and [Panthers OC] Norv and [QB coach] Scott Turner and we talked about what the plan would be and how we would implement the plan,” Rivera said. “A lot of it does have to do with the way we’re going to install. There will be a count, obviously. We’re going to pay attention to the reps and see how he is the next morning every day.”
The Panthers stumbled to a 7-9 showing in 2018 after a 6-2 start. Hence, when Newton’s shoulder began to trouble him, so too did the team’s fortunes.
Rivera’s positive prognosis of Newton being ready to go couched by a cautious approach of how he will proceed in his continued recovery is a good sign for the Panthers and their biggest star.