Carolina Panthers  

 

Panthers' QB situation could get interesting after bye

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The Carolina Panthers will start Kyle Allen at quarterback once again on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London, his fourth start in a row -- with three wins so far. After that, it could get interesting.

Publicly and privately, the Panthers have emphasized that no one has addressed what to do when Cam Newton returns. The team will discuss the issue when it comes up, when Newton is fully and 100 percent healthy, but not before.

The focus has been only on the now, an approach that has helped them win three straight and take back their season. While the public assumes Newton comes back after the bye, sources with knowledge of the Panthers' situation say they are not even sure that is the case. He may not start practicing next week.

They plan to make the decision when Newton is completely healthy and not before. But the fact that Allen has actually made it a decision is a turn few saw coming.

Here is how one Panthers source broke it down: If the team wins, the status quo reigns, as Allen likely keeps his job as Newton makes a slow and steady return to the field from his mid-foot sprain. If Carolina loses to Tampa Bay, it's up in the air, but potentially it paves the way for Newton to return to his starting post when healthy.

The real question is, would the Panthers change QBs after four straight wins?

Allen, who received undrafted free agent offers from the Panthers and Cowboys, impressed in his first win over the Cardinals and has been solid in the two games since. Meanwhile, the defense and star running back Christian McCaffrey led the way to wins.

Teammates have been impressed with how level-headed Allen has been, how he fights back after a bad play and his success on third downs. He's exceeded expectations by a lot. The team also hasn't seen Newton healthy at all this season, one reason why it's taking its time until he's ready.

To be sure, as the Panthers' season has returned from the abyss of 0-2, this is a good problem to have. No one denies that. They also know that everyone outside is discussing it, which is one reason no one will address it.

Until Newton returns to practice, the team will keep staring at the next game on their schedule, putting off one of the biggest decisions a franchise could make. And that is fine with them.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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