Let me say this right now, and I make no bones about it, Cam Newton deserves to be and should be the Panthers opening day starter, three weeks from Sunday in Arizona. This will be the single smartest decision Ron Rivera will make since his tenure began here in Charlotte almost 7 months ago.
First, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon brought up the number 1 reason why he should start when he joined us on the Drive yesterday.
“Cam has a chance to start day one just because of where they are right now at the quarterback position,” Moon told us yesterday. “The fact that they have a new coach, new scheme, you have to start with a new quarterback. He’s put in the work. He’s put in the study time. He will be ready.”
He’s right. Why play Jimmy Clausen, who yeah he may be able to hold the fort down until Cam is really ready to start, but that is all he is. He is a stop-gap. The gap need’s to be closed immediately. Think of the fan buzz in Week 2 of the season when the Panthers return home to face the Packers in their home opener. Think of the buzz leading up to the game as Cam Newton gets set to face the defending Super Bowl champs. Let him go through his growing pains.
See, everything the Panthers have done this off-season has been set up for Cam to start week 1. Bringing in Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey at tight end. Re-signing DeAngelo Williams and getting Jonathon Stewart healthy. Locking in a defensive nucleus for years to come. This has all been to protect Cam and make it as easy as can be for Cam to struggle through the first 6 or so weeks until he really has a grasp of the offense.
Ron Rivera is not blind, nor stupid. He knows what Cam Newton means to this franchise. He also knows Cam Newton gives him the best chance to win at the quarterback position. Not Jimmy Clausen.