The Carolina Panthers’ season is on the road after they journey to play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday with quarterback Cam Newton’s availability and/or degree of effectiveness in query.
Newton, who had proper shoulder surgical procedure final 12 months and is battling what is likely to be residual ache, had one in every of his worst video games final Sunday, when he threw 4 interceptions and was sacked 4 occasions by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because the Panthers (6-6) misplaced their fourth straight recreation.
Do not count on Newton, who has thrown at the least one interception in every of the 4 defeats, to be standing on the sideline.
“I am wholesome sufficient to play and I am not going to let nothing maintain me again,” Newton stated, in response to Max Henson of the Panthers’ official web site. ” … It’s important to discover ways to handle ache. You’ve got simply obtained to stay with it. Father Time ain’t no person’s buddy.”
Newton appeared extra involved with the interceptions, saying: “We won’t have that. I can not permit that and settle for that from myself.”
Stated head coach Ron Rivera when requested about Newton: “We’ll see. We simply do the perfect we are able to with it. … He will do no matter he can to attempt to win.”
Rivera has different issues after taking on the defensive play-calling towards the Buccaneers after which firing defensive position coach Brady Hoke and assistant secondary/cornerbacks coach Jeff Imamura the following day.
Defensive coordinator Eric Washington was retained, however will focus on different areas, notably overseeing the entrance seven.
One thing needed to be executed as a result of the Panthers have allowed 52, 20, 30 and 24 factors through the four-game shedding streak after they gained six of their first eight.
“In the end, I am charged with placing the workforce in the perfect place to succeed, and I felt these strikes had been needed in an effort to do this,” Rivera stated.
Making issues worse, the Panthers have misplaced tight finish Greg Olsen for the remainder of the season due to a foot harm, placing much more strain on Newton and working again Christian McCaffrey.
Rivera is aware of there’s just one strategy to salvage issues, beginning towards the Browns.
“Win, that is the one manner,” he stated. “You’ll be able to have a look at it, the previous few video games we’ve performed have come all the way down to the final alternatives we’ve had, whether or not it’s on offense or protection. You simply should make a play.”
That may not be as simple as one would possibly count on towards the Browns (4-7-1) and rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy-winner from Oklahoma.
Mayfield threw three interceptions and had solely 46 yards passing final week within the first half of a 29-13 loss to the Houston Texans, however turned that round with 351 yards and a landing within the second half.
“We’re very keen (for the following recreation), not simply myself,” Mayfield stated this week. “This group has discovered precisely how we’ve to start out the sport, how we have to assault, so I believe everyone’s keen.”
Typically, essentially the most troublesome factor for a younger participant to do is rapidly put a poor efficiency within the rear-view mirror.
His teammates imagine Mayfield has already executed that.
“I believe he already bounced again within the second half (towards the Texans),” left guard Joel Bitonio stated. “His mentality, I believe he forgot about it by halftime. He will be prepared this week, and I believe he will need to enhance on his total efficiency.
“The beauty of him is he can play the following play, however he’ll come again and be his largest critic. He is aware of he is making an attempt to enhance every thing and he desires these throws again, and he’s going to be able to get on the market and enhance these.”
The Browns should climb over 4 groups to catch the Baltimore Ravens (7-5), who presently maintain the second wild-card spot within the AFC, to make the playoffs.
That seems to be hopeless, however interim head coach Gregg Williams claims his workforce isn’t merely taking part in out the string in these final 4 video games.
“It isn’t an act,” Williams stated. “I would like our guys to come back in profitable on daily basis, profitable each single second of on daily basis and let the chips fall the place they might, however do our jobs on profitable on daily basis.
“They hit the bottom working, no person being late and everyone being anxious to get again in right here. That is the mark of the correct of individuals. We’ll carry on pushing the correct of individuals.”
Listening to the discuss, you’d virtually suppose the data had been reversed.