The San Francisco 49ers face the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 of the regular season. The most notable storyline facing Carolina at the moment is the status of quarterback Cam Newton. He had shoulder surgery in late March, and according to head coach Ron Rivera, is not yet at 100 percent.
Newton did not throw during OTAs or minicamp, and in fact made his first post-surgery throw on June 26. He has been in Baltimore conducting summer workouts with teammates, and has been doing throwing there. Rivera recently chatted with Albert Breer, and the MMQB columnist asked Rivera if Newton would be 100 percent healthy going into training camp. Rivera offered this:
“I wouldn’t say that, but he and the running backs and tight ends and receivers went up to Baltimore to do their getaway and work out for a couple days, and they threw it around. And I know he’s been throwing it. I’m not sure how much he’s gonna throw. He’s talking to the trainers about what that should be. I’m just pleased that there’s an opportunity for him to start off and start off on the right foot.”
The Panthers are likely in no rush to get Newton into preseason game action. The goal will be to have him 100 percent for Week 1 when they travel to Santa Clara. I imagine they want him plenty active in drills and workouts, but I have to think his preseason playing time will be fairly limited. I would expect him to play in the preseason, but maybe just in Weeks 2 and 3.
It’s not a huge deal as Newton will likely be fine for Week 1, but shoulder injuries on quarterbacks can flair up given the hits they take. The Panthers have struggled to get enough consistency on the offensive line, and I imagine Elvis Dumervil, Arik Armstead and the rest of the 49ers pass rushers will be licking their chops as they prepare for Newton & Co.