Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday he was holding a “slim glimmer” of hope the Panthers would make the playoffs and that quarterback Cam Newton would lead them into the postseason despite an obvious sore shoulder
“Believe it or not there’s still a slim glimmer so we’ll see,” said Rivera. “Again, we’ll continue to focus in on playing football and we got Atlanta coming to town and all intents and purposes, we play to win.”
Rivera noted he would be speaking with Newton and the team’s medical staff later in the day in order to determine the quarterback’s status for the final two weeks of the season.
“I haven’t talked to the doctors, or trainers, or Cam himself today so we’ll wait until we have conversations and see where we are,” he said. “I believe in Cam so we’ll leave it at that.”
Newton opened up about his sore shoulder after Monday night’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, saying that it hasn’t gotten better — or worse — and that he just doesn’t “have the strength, from the range of motion.”
“It is what we expected it to be. ... The same way. It’s not getting better, it’s not getting worse. It is what it was, just a lot of soreness and tension in the joints,” Newton told reporters during his postgame comments.
“It doesn’t matter how much you push,” Newton said. “Ice, anti-inflammatories you take ... I mean, trust me, I did it. Acupuncture. Massages. It’s just not been a time that (a) night has gone by without me getting some type of work done on my arm.
“We just don’t have the strength, from the range of motion,” Newton said.
Newton completed 16 of 29 passes against the Saints for just 131 yards and an interception while not looking comfortable throwing the ball. The loss was the Panthers’ six straight.
Newton first appeared on the injury report in Week 8. In Monday’s game, he skidded passes in front of receivers, missed multiple targets short and wide, and generally never found a strike zone.
“You work on the range of motion, and then come game time, you never know how it’ll kind of play out,” Newton said. “You try to stay under 25, 30 throws, but if it’s past that, or if you get hit on it, or you have to run, or you get tackled and you fall on your shoulder, certain things happen. That’s the game of football.”
Newton has just two touchdowns against six interceptions in December and a passer rating of 94.2 for the season.
—Field Level Media