Cam Newton was announced to be the starter in the second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins this upcoming Friday.
This should come as no surprise as Jimmy Clausen, despite looking much more composed than last year, didn't really separate himself from Newton. Clausen had a debatable blunder in the first quarter but bounced back and showed poise while playing with the first-team offense.
Newton showed similar poise without the big blunder but stalled in the red zone. Part of this might have been because he was playing with the second- and third-string offense, but he was also playing against a scrub defense.
The consensus was that Cam would struggle making the transition from the spread offense to a pro-style offense, but Newton showed he could line up under center despite being hurried and sacked due to poor line play.
Cam needs to make the most out of his time with the starters. Everyone is anticipating him bringing his electric style of play to Carolina, but he needs to prove he belongs and he needs to start showing it right away against Miami on Friday.
Cam Newton never really got into a rhythm on Saturday against the Giants. Maybe it was because he didn't start the game and didn't feel comfortable stepping in without the first quarter under his belt.
Now, Newton will be able to step in and show what he has right away. He got a feel for how some of the receivers and tight ends will react on the field and should have a better feel for where they want the ball and his overall timing.
If Newton can get a couple passes completed early, he should be able to spread the defense for the full effect of Carolina's offense.
It's a preseason game, so as much as a win is nice, it doesn't really matter.
Newton needs to get a grasp for the game in real-time and needs to get a feel for the game from the pocket. He can't do that if he is constantly bailing himself out.
The Dolphins have Cameron Wake, a serious pass-rusher who can blow by any offensive lineman. Newton might be better off to get the feel of the pass rush and how to react rather than turning to his feet.
That and Newton's scrambling ability is one of his biggest assets. No need to show the rest of the league what he can do until the games count.
The expectation is that Cam Newton will come into the NFL and either make it big or fail due to his big arm and playmaking ability. Newton showed he wasn't afraid to go deep in his first action against the New York Giants.
While it might make for a more interesting game, Newton's issues with accuracy could lead him down the path of turnovers. The Dolphins have solid cover corners in Vontae Davis and Sam Smith. Newton needs to test them so that he gains confidence but not at the cost of turnovers.
Newton needs to learn to walk before he can run.
Ryan Kalil is the Panthers' cornerstone lineman and center. Jordan Gross has been there the longest and Jeff Otah is a beast when healthy, but Kalil keeps the line in check and does it at an All-Pro level.
Kalil and Newton will have to have a great chemistry for the Panthers to be successful. Newton is not used to taking snaps from under center and Kalil isn't used to consistently snapping the ball in shotgun form. Both will need to make adjustments and the only way to make it work is getting in repetitions.
So far there is no report that Steve Smith will be out for Friday night's game. If he does play, Newton would be smart to target him early.
Smith is a bit of a diva who did not get along with Jimmy Clausen last year for multiple reasons, one of which was he didn't get him the ball enough. Smith is under the impression that he should be involved as often as possible, as most receivers do.
This olive branch would go a long way to making Newton's rookie campaign much smoother.
It sounds corny but a big part of Cam Newton's charm and charisma is that he looks like he is legitimately having a good time on the field.
There will be moments during his rookie season where there is legitimate pressure and things will not look good but this is the preseason, all this is about is getting better and making the team.
Newton should look to get comfortable in his role but be sure to enjoy himself. The games go live in September; he might as well enjoy himself while he can.