Cam Newton's return to the Carolina Panthers is off to a very rough start. On Sunday, the Panthers benched their starting quarterback in the fourth quarter of the team's 33-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins. He was replaced by P.J. Walker with 10 minutes remaining in the game as the Panthers were trailing by 20.
After the game, Panthers coach Matt Rhule explained why he made the move to bench Newton. He said he put "P.J. in the fourth quarter because he knows two-minute and the rally stuff obviously better than Cam because of his experience, but just a poor day all around. I think we as a team came in having a great week feeling like we were going to be very confident and locked in and they overwhelmed us at times and credit to them, so we have to go back to the drawing board and regroup."
"He said we're going to put P.J. in because he has a better grasp of the signals and the two-minute thing because there are obviously things that's not necessarily in the game, the base game plan," Newton said after the game. "And I was fine with that. And at the end of the day it's about being a professional. At this particular time I had more than enough opportunity to keep the game in the balance and there's no need to put up a fight with that."
Newton joined the Panthers earlier this month after being cut by the New England Patriots before the start of the season. The Panthers signed him as they needed depth at the position since Sam Darnold is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Newton finished Sunday's game completing just five of his 21 pass attempts for 92 yards, two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 5.8. And dating back to the 2018 season, Newton has lost his last 10 games as the Panthers' starting QB.
"This is the NFL," Newton said. "Nothing's promised. Just because Cam Newton is on your roster it doesn't mean you're just going to win. Just because it's a feel-good story, doesn't mean you're going to win. I'm well aware of that. I think in this situation we all have to come to grips with who we are, and I'm putting blame on myself first before I can even look at somebody else. I have to be better. I know that. And it starts with mentally tapping in and understanding what Coach Rhule and obviously Coach wants to do and that's how we're going to rock and roll."