Panthers HC Matt Rhule says Cam Newton 'trending' toward starting vs. Washington

Cam Newton appears in line to make his first start in the QB's return to the Carolina Panthers.

Coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday that Newton is "trending" toward starting versus Washington on Sunday but added an official announcement won't be made until later in the week.

Rhule noted the club will get both Newton and P.J. Walker ready for Sunday and didn't rule out both playing.

"You know, I think we're probably trending that way to be quite honest with you. I'm not gonna probably pull that trigger 'til later," Rhule said Wednesday of Newton potentially starting. "But I think, and I was pretty transparent the other day, in terms of wanting to push him into that role I think it's good for our team. But we're getting P.J. ready as well. As I said, game plan wise, I think we could see a myriad of different things happen."

With Walker making the start in Sunday's 34-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals, Newton appeared in eight offensive plays. Newton completed 3 of 4 passes for 8 yards and a TD while rushing three times for 14 yards and the game's opening score.

Rhule isn't worried about Newton picking up the playbook in short order to make a start just 11 days after signing in Carolina.

"You can see really quickly he's a smart guy, and you can see really quickly he works hard at it," the coach said, via NFL Network's Bridget Condon.

Assuming Newton starts, he'll face his former coach Ron Rivera in Week 11, their first meeting since both departed Carolina after 2019. Newton will be the eighth former MVP to face the head coach with whom he won MVP since 1990. The former MVP has won the first matchup versus the MVP-season head coach in five of the previous seven instances, most recently Tom Brady's win over Bill Belichick in Week 4.

"Cam was brought here to help us win," Rhule said. "I expect him to work to become a guy that can help us win week in and week out."

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