The excitement surrounding Cam Newton return could be short lived.
The Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule confirmed that he will start PJ Walker in the team's matchup against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. But with the recent signing of former starting quarterback Cam Newton along with the hefty price tag of up to nearly ten million dollars to get the one-year deal done, Walker's time may be limited - including his reps on Sunday. On Friday Panthers' head coach Matt Rhule confirmed that Newton will travel with the team to Arizona but did not say whether he would be activated. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady also spoke to the media about how the process was going and has high expectation from all of his quarterbacks but also laid out his approach to the offensive line issues. "As the weeks go on we'll be able to kind of get a vision and expand on the package and go from there but right now he's in the process of learning what we do and how we call things," Brady said.
"He's an extremely intelligent football player and in person so he'll be able to pick up this offense and be able to kind of take it into his own and put his stamp on it."
Cam Newton passed his physical on Thursday and appears to be more like the healthy, stealthy and most dangerous version of himself. But how long will that last with the issue with the Panthers' offensive line. Another looming fact is that the offensive line is still in flux with Matt Paridis out for the season due to a torn ACL, Cam Erving also having issues staying healthy and the ever-present lack of experience for others. A key factor in the lack of success for regular starting quarterback Sam Darnold, now on injured reserve, was the variation in pass protection from game to game. The Panthers will have to find answers to protect Newton or he could face re-injury as well. An event such as this could cause the excitement around Newton's return to be short-lived. But if all goes well, the team could possibly be eyeing the playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season during which Newton was at the helm.
What does everyone have to look forward to? Cam Newton could be activated for games as soon as Sunday's game in Arizona. But the game many Carolina fans are probably most eager to see Cam take the field for is the upcoming game against the Washington Football team. Coach Ron Rivera, who declined to bring Newton to Washington, will possibly have to look that decision in the eye when the teams face each other in the week 11 matchup.
Carolina Panthers are already lighting up social media platforms with well wishes and the opportunity to see Newton's electric personality ignite the city.