One of the most obvious storylines emanating from Week 1: Norv Turner won't force Cam Newton to be something he's not.
"I said, 'OK, Coach.'"
"'All right now. Just let it go out there today, baby.'"
Newton is a dual-threat monster that some coaches have tried to make a pocket passer.
Sunday's result underscored that Turner won't take out Newton's legs.
The quarterback led the Panthers in both rushing attempts (13) and yards (58). Newton proved yet again that his zone-read at the goal line is the most unstoppable play in the NFL as he easily skirted into the end zone for a TD.
The Panthers signal-caller was up-and-down as a passer in the win, as has been his career modus operandi. Newton completed 17 of 26 passes for 161 yards, no TDs and no INTs while taking three sacks behind a beat-up offensive line.
In his eighth NFL season, Newton's tendency to throw high and bouts of inaccuracy aren't changing anytime soon. The worst thing a coach could do is pigeonhole the QB into a role. Luckily Turner knows better.
The Panthers unleashed Newton right off the bat on Sunday, including a 29-yard bulldozing scamper on the opening drive.
"It helps us out tremendously," center Ryan Kalil said of Newton's running ability. "He's a special player, and he's someone you have to account for. It adds another element to our offense. ... He can make guys miss, he can extend a play."
While there is concern about Newton taking extra hits, other running quarterbacks aren't built like the 6-foot-5, 245-pound linebacker of a QB. Newton has repeatedly said he takes bigger hits in the pocket than he does as a runner. Most of the time he's dishing out punishment on the move.
"It's still early, [but] I felt extremely comfortable with what [Turner] was doing," Newton said. "I understood the game plan going into it, and it's still kind of give-and-take, knowing how he calls, just the preparation process through this week. ... We felt good, and we just want to keep getting better."