Panthers coach Ron Rivera thinks QB Cam Newton is ‘ready’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera didn’t hesitate on Sunday when asked where quarterback Cam Newton was in his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery a week before the opener at San Francisco.

“I think he’s ready,” Rivera said. “You wish he’d had a few more snaps and played a little bit earlier in the preseason so we’d have more to go on. But what we saw, we liked.

“We liked how everything seems to be meshing together as an offense. We’ll see how it goes as we continue to work this week.”

Cam Newton has been a full participant in practice the past week as the Panthers began installing the game plan for San Francisco. AP Photo/John Raoux
Newton had surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The 2015 NFL MVP was limited in throwing much of the first four weeks of training camp and played only one series — a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive — during the four preseason games.

But Newton has been a full participant in practice the past week as the Panthers began installing the game plan for San Francisco.

The staff was so confident with where Newton is medically that third-string quarterback Joe Webb was released on Saturday. Carolina still will carry three quarterbacks after claiming former University of Miami star Brad Kaaya following his release by Detroit.

But Kaaya was brought in to be developed for the future with backup Derek Anderson, 34, in the last year of his contract. Webb, 30, hadn’t taken an in-season snap at quarterback since he was at Minnesota in 2013.

General manager Marty Hurney said releasing Webb was tough because of his versatility and locker room presence. But he echoed Rivera’s sentiments on where Newton is.

“We have been on a plan since training camp,” Hurney said. “I think we feel very confident. We do feel very confident. Every day he takes more and more. He’s looked good. He’s felt good. We have a lot of confidence in him.”