With the Carolina Panthers returning from the week seven bye, the stage was set for starter Cam Newton to potentially return from a foot injury. However, he will instead miss his fifth consecutive game. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera announced on Monday that backup Kyle Allen will take the reins once again.
"Cam is going to continue his rehab," Rivera said during his Monday press conference. "As I told you guys last week, we're not putting any pressure on Cam. He's done a great job doing the things that we've asked of him. He's gone above and beyond in terms of working with our quarterbacks and helping them along the way. He's just going to continue to do his program."
Allen has started all four of the Panthers' games leading up to the bye week. He achieved a 4-0 record in this stretch while throwing seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.
This news came as less of a surprise to many following a report by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports in which he wrote that Newton could miss additional games while trying to fully recover from his foot sprain. As La Canfora explained, the Panthers have "yet to even begin to discuss the scenario at quarterback." Although he did say that there is a belief that the team is leaving the door open for Allen to continue as the starter even after Newton returns to full health.
The second-year quarterback has executed the offense well, consistently pushing the ball down the field, and Allen has to yet to lose a game in five starts dating back to last season. Newton, on the other hand, has struggled while dealing with injuries dating back to the shoulder issue he suffered in the middle of last season.
Ultimately, the likelihood of Newton returning to the starting lineup will greatly depend on Allen's performance against an undefeated San Francisco team that has allowed a total of 10 points over the past three weeks. Rookie Nick Bosa is chasing down quarterbacks with regularity while the front seven is holding running backs in check.
If Allen has hopes of taking over the starting job, either this season or next, he will have to show that he can keep the Panthers competitive against the league's toughest opponents. Taking care of business in the Bay Area will serve as a positive sign for both the second-year quarterback and the Panthers that he is ready to be the franchise guy.
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