CHARLOTTE – After missing a start for the first time in his NFL career – ending a streak of 48 consecutive starts – quarterback Cam Newton is expected to start against the Detroit Lions in Week 2.
"Everything looks good. We expect to see him on the practice field come Wednesday," head coach Ron Rivera said. "I expect him to be ready to roll."
Sitting Newton was extremely difficult for Rivera, who was forced to weigh the risk facing his franchise quarterback's long-term health.
"It was very hard on me. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to make," Rivera said. "But at the same time, it was a decision I had to make. In the long run – win or lose – we're better off now."
Rivera's decision couldn't have worked out much better. Backup quarterback Derek Anderson performed well in the 20-14 victory over the Buccaneers, and the extra time for Newton's ribs to heal should prove beneficial.
"The doctors said if we can get to this point, we will all feel much more comfortable about his situation," Rivera said. "We were able to accomplish that and still win. With the way it was explained to me, this one week will make a big difference for him."
In addition to the rest, Newton may well benefit from having watched Anderson direct Carolina's offense with a different style of play.
"I think the one thing in terms of watching Derek was management," Rivera said. "Derek did a couple things that Cam wouldn't have in terms of check downs. Where Cam would have held the ball or ran with the ball, Derek just dumped it.
"I think that's one thing Cam will get out of watching this."
It also reminded Newton just how much he loves being on the field.
"He told me it was the longest game of his life," Rivera said.