NFL

Cam Newton Successful In Return From Surgery

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Cam NewtonCam Newton, with help from running back Jonathan Stewart, was successful in his return to the Carolina Panthers starting line up, helping the team to a 28-16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Newton’s first game action since returning from ankle surgery.

Newton completed 4 of 9 passes for 65 yards and led the Panthers on 2 scoring drives while running back Jonathan Stewart gave Newton a reliable option out of the backfield, with Stewart scoring both touchdowns and racking up 26 yards on 4 carries.

While Panthers fans were certainly happy to see Newton back in action, the strong performance of Stewart could mean a couple very important things for the Panthers.

One of the implications is that, at minimum, Stewart has made a strong case for himself to be the Panthers goal line running back, scoring on runs of 2 and 3 yards in the red zone. Stewart also made a case to see more time on the field outside of red zone situations.

Another implication, perhaps the most important thing to be gleaned from this preseason game, is that a strong running game could lead to a longer, healthier career for Cam Newton.

Newton is often forced to be a major part of the running game for the Panthers, but coach Ron Rivera would like to see Newton run less read option style plays in order to try and keep the quarterback healthier.

If Stewart and other Panthers running backs can maintain a successful ground attack without Newton needing to take excessive carries, they will not only help Newton have a longer playing career, but when Newton does run the ball, for example on a broken pass play, he will have that much more effectiveness, as defenses will spend more focus stopping the Panthers running backs rather than the mobile quarterback.

About Grant Hamersma

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