By naming Cam Newton the starting quarterback for this Friday night's preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, first-year Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is sticking with the plan he and his staff put in place after making Newton the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
2010 second-round quarterback Jimmy Clausen started the preseason opener, with Newton replacing him in the second quarter and playing into the fourth. Rivera anticipates naming a starter before the third preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals on August 25.
"If people do want to read into it (Newton starting), that's fine but just know we have a plan and we're sticking to it as we go through this process," Rivera said on Wednesday. "As I said, sometime next week we'd like to have a real good feel for what we're going to do as we go into the regular season."
James Dator of Cat Scratch Reader is careful not to take Newton starting this Friday as the official start of an era, but does sense a shift at the position taking place, with it appearing to be a foregone conclusion that Newton will be the starting quarterback when the Panthers open up the regular season against the Arizona Cardinals.