In eight series over the first two exhibitions, Panthers QB Cam Newton has guided just one touchdown drive – on a short field (18 yards) last week following Norman’s interception of Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler. The other seven series have produced four punts, two field goals and an interception.
Newton completed eight of 17 passes for 112 yards Thursday. It was the kind of inconsistent performance Newton has said he wants to eliminate.
Newton overthrew Steve Smith several times, including a fade route after the Panthers had driven inside the Eagles’ 10 late in the first half. But Rivera was not worried about Newton’s showing.
“I thought he did some nice things. He got us down there twice in scoring position,” Rivera said. “We did miss a couple throws. But he was running for his life twice, and both times he overthrew the ball. I'm not sure you put that on the quarterback alone.”
New offensive coordinator Mike Shula kept his calls conservative, but it's hard to know how much of that is his philosophy or simply not wanting to reveal too much.
Newton got off to a slow start in 2012, but finished on a tear. We wouldn't worry too much about preseason struggles, though it should be noted that he's playing for a new offensive coordinator this season.