Tuesday afternoon, Carolina Panthers backup-turned-starter Kyle Allen learned that he would be the man leading the offense for the remainder of the season. Cam Newton was officially placed on Injured Reserve, which meant that he would be sidelined for eight games and could only be eligible to return this season if the Panthers make the playoffs. Instead of celebrating his extended playing time, however, Allen opted to thank Newton.
Allen conveyed this message on Instagram Tuesday afternoon, explaining that he has been watching Newton work every single day to recover from his aggravated foot injury. Seeing this happen had a profound effect on the second-year QB, and Allen is ready to repay the favor by winning some critical games.
"I watched this man do everything in his power to come back from his injury," Allen wrote in the caption. "I watched him lead and be a great teammate day in day out. Thank you for setting the example. We got you."
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While there will certainly be added pressure for Allen to perform now that he is no longer the placeholder in the offense, he will have to deal with less of an abrupt transition in mindset. The Panthers coaching staff has actually been telling Allen that the Panthers are "his team" amid Newton's absence.
As NFL Network's Tom Pelissero explained, Ron Rivera and co. never put a timetable for Newton's return to the offense, so Allen didn't have to worry about looking over his shoulder or wondering if his time was up. Instead, they simply told him to go out and win games.
This strategy was met with success as the Panthers achieved a 5-1 record with Allen as the starter prior to Newton being placed on Injured Reserve. There were certainly some growing pains, especially when facing the top defense of the San Francisco 49ers, but Allen still made weekly strides.
Still, the team has remained confident in his abilities to lead them to victory every week, and he has justified this faith with a winning record. Now, however, they will expect him to keep producing against foes such as the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints while helping the Panthers reach the playoffs.
This is a sizable task, but Allen is ready for the challenge after watching Newton attack his rehab with ferocity.
(Photo Credit: Jacob Kupferman/Getty)