Cam Newton returned to the NFL field in nightmarish fashion on a Thursday evening at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots met Newton in one of his self proclaimed “favorite matchups” of the year, when things got ugly fast.
The Carolina Panthers not only fell short in their second straight preseason loss, but also sustained a foot injury to their franchise quarterback. Although labeled as a mild foot sprain, the injury has left Newton’s imminent future uncertain yet again, as it has been in many seasons before.
Since 2011, Cam Newton has been a force as a runner and passer in the NFL. Utilizing a six-foot five, 250-pound frame, the scrambling strong arm quarterback has given defensive coordinators fits trying to contain all aspects of his game. Despite his immense talent, consistency has escaped him through the years, often due to playing through sustained injuries as mild as a foot sprain and extreme as a partially torn rotator cuff (on his throwing shoulder). As a starter, Newton has never led back-to-back winning seasons, and only finished two of his eight seasons with a 61% completion rate or higher. Most have pointed to the offensive line, and Newton’s style of play in these faults, as the violent nature of contact in the NFL does not play favorites. Injury is impossible to avoid, which results in Newton often playing through pain. This season will be no different. But if Cam can stay relatively healthy, and this foot sprain is as mild as it’s been diagnosed, this season could potentially be his best opportunity at returning to the Super Bowl since 2015.
By way of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, blossoming weapons in HB Christian McCaffrey and WR DJ Moore, and an offensive line with a high ceiling, Newton’s situation has arguably never been more stable. With a full offseason to acquaint himself with his new offensive weapons, and the Carolina Panthers extremely talented front seven on the opposite side of the ball, the expectations couldn’t be any higher. If history serves, this season should garner a vintage Cam Newton bounce-back year. Limping or running, we may be watching the former MVP as late as February.