Cam Newton getting every possible chance to win job

The job is there for Cam Newton to claim.

The rookie quarterback will start the third preseason game for the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is expected to play about three quarters. Provided the No. 1 overall pick doesn’t fall on his face, Newton will probably be the starter when the season begins Sept. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.

But coach Ron Rivera has stopped short of naming Newton the man after a rocky outing against the Miami Dolphins.

It will give us an opportunity to see how he'll handle the whole game experience and we'll go from there," Rivera said, according to Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette.

“It makes (Newton) the starter for Thursday,” Rivera said. “We are still in the evaluation process after having gone through a game where we did some good things, but not enough good things. I think the big thing we have to do is continue to evaluate the situation and the circumstances. I think we've only gone through about three-and-a-half or four weeks of training camp and to rush to a decision would be kind of absurd. We want to see how he handles this whole game week situation."

The Panthers will do some game-planning for this week and it’s a good test for Newton. He’s competing with Jimmy Clausen for the starting job, but no one expects Clausen to hold him off for long if Newton isn’t the pick to start the season. By giving Newton the start against the Bengals, Rivera is giving the future of the organization every possible chance to succeed. He led the offense to only three first downs against the Dolphins.

“We had an opportunity to break the tape down and really see some good things,” Rivers said. “It didn't show obviously, but the biggest thing is he was a making good decisions and that's probably the biggest thing. Anytime you see a guy make the decisions that you're supposed to make the next part of it is delivering the ball on time and hitting the receivers in stride and stuff like that."

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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