Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera has made his choice at quarterback for Friday night’s preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, and it isn’t Jimmy Clausen. Cam Newton, the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft, will be under center to start the game and he should play for the entire first half.
Carolina started Clausen in its preseason opener against the New York Giants last Saturday, and he wasn’t terribly impressive. The Notre Dame product was 4-of-7 for 69 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Newton then entered the game and was 8-for-19 for 134 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions, while being sacked twice. So neither guy exactly solidified his position on the depth chart.
It makes sense that Rivera would give Newton a shot with the first team this week. If it is a true competition, he should be given the same opportunity Clausen had in the opener. Last week Newton entered in the second quarter and played into the fourth. Which means we can probably expect Clausen to get the majority of the playing time in the second half this week.
If Newton shows well against the Dolphins it’s a pretty good bet he’ll be the starter when the regular season rolls around. The Panthers took a risk selecting him with the top pick and sitting him for an extended period of time just doesn’t make sense. If you’re going to gamble on a guy at the top of the draft you need to go all-in.
This weekend’s preseason contest could be the first example of the Panthers fully adopting that philosophy.