It was 4th & 1 on the Tampa Bay 2-yard line, with 1:28 remaining in the 4th quarter. Ordinarily, the sight of Cam Newton near the goaline with All-Pro Christian McCaffrey would be a foregone conclusion. A quarterback sneak or RPO (Run-Pass Option) would be the perfect ending as the Panthers pound their way against a division opponent. That was not how this story ended.
The Panthers lined up in the Wildcat formation, Newton motioned out of the picture, and McCaffrey took the direct snap. Newton had no plans of touching the ball as McCaffrey was tackled right before the endzone.
Throughout that Week 2 loss against the Buccaneers, there was concern for Newton’s health. He had initially injured his foot against the New England Patriots back in Week 3 of the preseason. When he returned, his throws were high, he could not escape the pocket, and he could not plant firmly before his throws.
He has been known to play through his injuries throughout his career. During the telecast, it was apparent something was off with Newton’s passes, but he had made a career out of throwing off his back foot, so nothing was outright suspicious. That was until Newton decided to leave the pocket in which he would lunge himself towards the sideline. Newton could no longer outrun defenders, and could no longer outrun the talk of him being injured.
On September 24th, a few weeks into his recovery, Newton went into detail about his injured foot and a possible return. He was diagnosed with a Linsfranc injury to his foot that happened during the preseason contest against the Patriots. He had continued to push through the pain and play, but his performance, as well as the team’s record, had suffered with losses to the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
For a player of Newton’s stature and build, injuries are aplenty. Prior to this current foot that will sideline him for multiple weeks, Newton had only missed five games in his nine-year career.
Not only will Newton face the pressure of rehabbing and recovery, but if Kyle Allen continues to pile up the wins, the Panthers may be facing a quarterback dilemma. With Kyle Allen outplaying his expectations, fans are wondering which direction the team will head in.
The injuries have a direct effect on Newton’s throwing motion, as well as his plant-foot. Sporting a career 59.6% completion percentage, Newton hasn’t been the most accurate passer coupled with his throwing mechanics throughout his tenure. Will Newton stay on the trainer’s table until he is completely healed?
If the Panthers are 7-5, and Kyle Allen is either struggling or injured, will Newton be rushed back? Newton has put himself in harms way to stay on the field in the past, and even though he is a veteran, he may not last too much longer at this rate.
A confident and smiling Cam Newton is what’s best for the Carolina Panthers overall outlook this season. But most of all, for Newton, it is the only way he can continue to be ‘Superman’.
Photo Credit: Mary Holt, Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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