Panthers will make decision on quarterback next week

If Cam Newton is going to win the starting quarterback job for the Carolina Panthers for the regular-season opener Sept. 11, we’ll know pretty soon.

First-year coach Ron Rivera announced he will make a decision next week in advance of the team’s third preseason game, when most teams typically play their starters into the third quarter. Rivera wants to have what he believes is his starting unit ready for the closest thing to a real game that you’ll get in preseason.

The Panthers play at Miami on Friday and Rivera said nothing has changed in the order right now with Jimmy Clausen ahead of Newton, the No.1 pick in this year’s draft.

It's all the same,” Rivera said, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “We're going to continue to do that until we make that decision.”

What are the Panthers looking for? Probably signs from Newton that he has a handle on the offense and command of the huddle. They didn’t want to hand the job to the rookie straight out of the gate, and to give him the best chance to succeed in the regular season, he needs time working with the ones.

If Newton isn’t the starter on Kickoff Weekend, it probably won’t be too far into the regular season until he is.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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