Rocky outing passing won't stop Cam Newton from starting

It wasn’t exactly the kind of outing that screams “I’m the starter!”

But when you’re competing against Jimmy Clausen, well, most anything will win the job.

Cam Newton was far from spectacular in extended action Thursday night at Cincinnati, but the No. 1 overall draft pick ought to be named the team’s starting quarterback whether he’s ready or not.

Newton started and played three quarters in the 24-13 loss that featured enough defensive shortcomings to make the Panthers concerned. Newton started the game with a nifty 16-yard touchdown run but throwing the ball was shaky – at best. Newton was 6 of 19 for 75 yards, he highlight being a 28-yard toss to new tight end Greg Olsen.

It's unacceptable on my part," Newton said, according to Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette. "That's an embarrassing stat. I just have to make the proper reads. The safeties don't lie to you, that's what (quarterbacks) coach (Mike) Shula always teaches. Getting back and getting in a comfort zone because third-and-long is not a situation you want to be in. A check down is not a bad thing. I saw today with checking the ball down to DeAngelo (Williams) we can get positive things rolling and that everything doesn't have to be to a receiver."

Jimmy Clausen struggled in a short outing and now first-year head coach Ron Rivera must make a decision.

“(Newton) had his moments, but was erratic at times,” Rivera said. “It was great to see Cam in an extended role and the thing you learn is he's got some moxie."

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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