Newton underwent shoulder surgery in late March and began throwing three months later. While Newton missed a good portion of the preseason, he did return for Carolina's third game against the Jaguars, going 2-of-2 for a touchdown. Earlier this week, head coach Ron Rivera sounded optimistic about Newton and did not give any inclination that the 2015 MVP would miss a start. On Monday, he told the team's official site: "I think he's ready. I do. You wish he'd had a few more snaps and played a little bit earlier in the preseason so we'd have more to go on. But what we saw, we like."
Keeping Newton in bubble wrap this offseason has allowed the Panthers to cloak their new-look offense in a bit of mystery. The addition of Christian McCaffrey certainly sparked the team during its warm-up slate, but McCaffrey and Newton together could be a glimpse at something the NFL hasn't quite seen before.