Rivera: Newton not injured

CHARLOTTE – Health is all relative at this point in the NFL season, but head coach Ron Rivera insists quarterback Cam Newton is healthy.

The suggestion that Newton is injured is false, according to Rivera.

"He's fine," Rivera said. "That's all I have to say on that issue."

Newton was sacked a franchise-record nine times during Monday's 45-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Too many," Rivera said. "There was a mixture of things that we could have done better."

Rivera said he was never told Newton was hurt. Doctors and trainers had no injury concerns regarding Newton after the game.

"There was nothing," Rivera said. "And he said it in his press conference after the game, he's fine."

Since before the season began, the Panthers knew Newton would have to tolerate pain and discomfort this year after offseason ankle surgery and a preseason rib fracture. They also knew his rare agility and elusiveness may be hampered, as a result.

"He's playing at the best condition he is going to play in," Rivera said. "This is Week 11, and we haven't had the bye yet. This is about as healthy as he's going to be. That's true for anybody who plays this game at this point in the season."

Carolina's primary concern right now isn't the health of its offense, but the functionality of it. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula said the Panthers' two turnovers on their first three plays set the table for a long night offensively.

Shula said the protection wasn't good enough for Newton to have success. But he also said there was more to it than that.

"We just aren't quite getting open quick enough," Shula said. "And sometimes you have to throw the ball away."

With those struggles in mind, Shula, like Rivera mentioned after the game, wanted the offense to have some success before the night was over.

"At the end of the game, you are weighing two things – do we need to rest our guys for next week, or hey, do we need to get some things going?" Shula said. "We need to find rhythm and consistency with the guys that are in there."

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