Ron Rivera not ready to name a starting quarterback yet

Ron Rivera said he wanted to name a starting quarterback for the season before the third preseason game next week.

After the Carolina Panthers’ 20-10 loss Friday night at Miami, there’s no definitive timetable for an answer from the first-year coach.

No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton, who played well in his first preseason game, got the entire first half of action but managed to lead the Panthers to only three first downs. It wasn’t the kind of performance Rivera could grab hold of to promote the future of the franchise.

Newton completed 7 of 14 passes for 66 yards but as Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette noted, four offensive starters did not play, including wide receiver Steve Smith. Jimmy Clausen wasn’t very exciting in the second half. The Panthers scored 10 points but the touchdown came after the Panthers got a turnover on the Dolphins’ 15-yard line. Clausen completed 9 of 15 passes for 69 yards.

What to do?

We’ll see,” Rivera said.

All the coach did was rule veteran Derek Anderson out of the equation, saying that Newton and Clausen were the “future” of the team.

We all know Newton is going to be the starter for this team. It’s just a matter right now of whether or not the coaching staff he can be as good as the slightly more experienced Clausen when the season starts. If it’s close, you’d expect Newton to be the choice.

The guess here – and this is just a guess – is that Newton gets another chance to start or at least play significant time with the starters this week. If he performs better, that could be a spring board for him to be the opening weekend starter. But the situation appears to be fluid.

“I’m not going to worry about who’s the starting quarterback and who’s not,” Newton said. “I’m going to worry about myself getting better. I’m not pleased with it all. But tomorrow when the film is ready I’m going to look and watch it and see what I need to work on.”

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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