The preseason has been far from smooth for the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton in terms of offensive production for the first team, but there are no excuses. Not when he’s paid so much money, not even when his best wide receiver is injured.
The Panthers lost 17-16 to the New England Patriots in the third preseason game and only got their first touchdown (and only one actually) of the game in the second half, when Newton found Mike Tolbert for the two yard catch.
Besides that, there were field goals, and some good defense on Brady in the first half, intercepting him twice – Kurt Coleman and Charles Tillman, with the former Bears player taking it back 37 yards.
Newton finished the game completing 17-of-28 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. Overall the Panthers first team offense didn’t shine in the preseason so far, scoring 20 points on 15 drives as penalties and drops ruined scoring opportunities. Corey Brown dropped one easy pass for a touchdown in the end zone during the first half.
With Kelvin Benjamin out, the Panthers will turn to tight end Greg Olsen as their top receiver. He had five receptions for 43 yards and one big drop, but it doesn’t change that fact that he’s probably their most trusted target out there.
Newton is a very good player with a very good defense to make things more comfortable for him. But the Panthers can’t have it be another season (even if they do make the playoffs for a third straight time) where the main discussion point is whether or not Newton is good/bad quarterback, and whether or not his receivers, healthy or not, are good enough to make him look good.