Following today's practice Ron Rivera announced to the media that Cam Newton would be starting this Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals and will be given a good, long chance to cement himself as the team's starter. We'll see Newton (and presumably the entire 1st team) for three full quarters before Jimmy Clausen and Derek Anderson are asked to handle the mop up duty.
While technically Newton hasn't been named the starter for week one against Arizona, really the writing is on the wall. As Steve Reed points out it would take a serious collapse by Newton to jeopardize his chances as the starting QB. Independent analysts all seem to agree that giving Cam the reigns is the right move, on two occasions NFL Network Analyst Greg Cosell has marveled at Cam's natural arm strength, poise under pressure and points out abilities that look ahead of his time as a rookie, conversely he sees many of the same issues with Jimmy Clausen rearing their head, while also noticing the lack on an NFL arm.
Today's talk by Rivera didn't just focus on Cam Newton though, Greg Hardy got some good news also and I'll tell you that...
After the jump
Despite missing the early weeks of training camp while recovering from a motorcycle crash Greg Hardy has made a huge impact on Ron Rivera and the Panthers' coaching staff, so much so that they've already told Hardy he will be the starting defensive end opposite Charles Johnson to open the season on September 11th in Arizona.
Hardy became a fan favorite last year with his manic style, flying around the field and making plays wherever possible. In fact, if Hardy is able to show a little more constraint he looks like he has the physical tools to become a truly dominant defensive end, a sentiment echoed by Bill Voth
One more thing from #Panthers today: was reminded that Greg Hardy is a big man. Impressive. If he can figure out some things mentally...
Voth shares a similar view I do of Hardy, he is an extremely dominant DE, but he can get lost in the game becoming overly aggressive and at times looking like he forgets his assignments. After looking back on some tape from 2010 I have no doubt Hardy can play the run very well, however, he tends to over-pursue at times which leads to him biting on ball fakes and misdirections. Provided the coaching staff can help focus the Kraken then we will see his true potential released.