Newton has been battling soreness in his right shoulder since throwing 22 passes in the fourth quarter of a comeback victory against Philadelphia on October 21. Newton did not practice on Wednesday, handing all the first-team reps over to Heinicke.
The decision to start Heinecke in place of an injured Cam Newton is, in their minds, the best opportunity they have at walking away with a victory this Sunday.
Newton doesn't require surgery "at this time" but the team will continue to evaluate him, a source told ESPN's Dan Graziano. "I thought those things were great", Rivera said. As noted by Panthers.com, his passer rating (52.5) and completion percentage (55.2) were both season lows. "He understood our thinking behind this and he's disappointed, he's frustrated".
Taylor Heinicke will serve as the starter when Atlanta visit Charlotte, with Allen as his backup. You know him; he wants to play. "In talking with Marty and the owner [David Tepper], obviously we felt our best opportunity to win a football game was to have a healthy Taylor to start this week".
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Newton was not made available for comment on Wednesday, but discussed how hard it's been with not knowing what is wrong with the shoulder after Monday night's loss to the Saints. But I feel bad for him.
"They have actually mentioned that multiple times", Wright said. He completed 16-of-29 passes, with only one of the completions traveling more than 10 yards in the air.
However, as rumors swirled that Newton may sit out the remainder of the season to rest his ailing shoulder, sportsbooks pulled the Panthers-Falcons game off the board, meaning it was temporarily unavailable for betting.