Cam Newton's cameo has been upgraded to a starring role.
A little over a week after signing with Carolina, Newton will "take the first play" and start at quarterback for the Panthers in Week 11 against the Washington Football Team, coach Matt Rhule announced Friday.
"He's really done a nice job learning the game plan for this week," Rhule explained. "It's obviously a lot to learn. There's some parts that obviously he probably has a better grasp of than others. But I think he's worked really really hard."
Newton returned to the Panthers on Nov. 11, then appeared in their first game in a package role, accounting for two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing) in Carolina's dominant win over the shorthanded Cardinals. After a week spent digesting as much of offensive coordinator Joe Brady's playbook as possible, Newton has now been given the keys to the Panthers' offense with the hopes he can lead them to a second-straight win.
With a lack of time available for Newton to master the offense, quarterback P.J. Walker is also expected to see some playing time, according to Rhule.
"I won't get into too much schematically but P.J.'s ready to play as well," Rhule said. "There are certain parts of the offense that Cam doesn't have a lot of exposure to yet. So we'll have both guys up, ready to play and probably use both of them."
Newton and the Panthers will face a familiar foe in former Carolina coach and current Washington coach Ron Rivera this weekend. With Newton on the field, we'll see who wins out in the battle of former allies.