Panthers QB Newton expected to play Thursday

Field Level Media

August 19, 2019 at 9:14 pm.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is expected to make his season debut this Thursday when Carolina takes on the Patriots in New England.

Head coach Ron Rivera said Monday that the team expects all of its starters, including Newton, linebacker Luke Kuechly and running back Christian McCaffrey to play against the Patriots.

All three have been held out of the first two preseason games, with Newton coming back from offseason shoulder surgery and Kuechly having been held out of practice recently.

“They’ve been the gold standard for a long time,” Rivera said, per “You want to go out and see just how good you are. It is a good measuring stick as to who we can be as a football team.”

Newton, 30, is entering his ninth NFL season. The former MVP completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games last season.

Kuechly, 28, is heading into his eighth season. The five-time All-Pro registered 130 tackles, two sacks and an interception in 16 starts in 2018.

McCaffrey, 23, is entering his third season. The first-round pick rushed for 1,098 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games last season and also set an NFL record for running backs by catching 107 passes. He accumulated 867 yards and six scores.