ESPN Insider Adam Schefter tweeted today that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will start on Friday against the Miami Dolphins. This was confirmed when coach Ron Rivera announced the decision.
Here's Schefter's tweet:
"Cam Newton will start Friday night in Miami vs. the Dolphins. Panthers insist they've made no decisions about who starts opener vs. Arizona."
The fact that Newton will start the Panthers' second preseason game isn't too surprising. He played well in his NFL debut, throwing for 134 yards and completing two passes that went for over 30 yards.
Newton also led two scoring drives as the Panthers ended up winning the game 20-10.
While he struggled with his accuracy (8-of-19), Newton made clear why the Panthers selected him with the first pick in April's draft. He's a big play waiting to happen.
Jimmy Clausen, the man who started in front of Newton, had an up-and-down start against the Giants. While he threw a pick-six on the Panthers' first offensive drive, he later settled down and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to new tight end Greg Olsen.
Clausen's ability to bounce back is important, but that might be a moot point. The Panthers are handing the keys to Newton on Friday and he might not give them back.
If I'm the Panthers, I don't even make that an option.
Clausen has a year under his belt in the NFL, but he was so clearly overmatched in every appearance he made for Carolina last season. It was also clearly evident why all 32 teams passed on him in the first round.
The same can't be said for Newton. We've only seen a very, very small sample, but he might have showed more in his one appearance last week than we've seen throughout Clausen's NFL career.
Schefter's tweet clearly states that the Panthers haven't made a decision on who will start in their regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
However, by the time the preseason is done, I think this will be Newton's job.
He'll need to keep proving it this preseason, but the Panthers would be crazy to keep such a dynamic weapon like Newton on the bench to open the season.