The Carolina Panthers announced their team captains this afternoon. Cam Newton headlines the group, hopefully putting to rest questions about whether the 3rd year quarterback is ready to be a leader.
Newton is joined by Luke Kuechly, Steve Smith, Jordan Gross, Ryan Kalil and Thomas Davis. None of the other selections should come as a surprise based on what players said this offseason. It has become clear that Kuechly is the leader of the Panthers' defense, and that he would get a patch -- but there were major questions about Cam, as it appeared he would be up against long-standing offensive veterans.
Ron Rivera announced earlier in the week that changes would be made to the captaincy structure. Rather than picking two players from offense, defense, and special teams -- six players would be named, regardless of position. This opened up the door for Newton, and avoided any awkwardness. It was a shrewd move by the organization.