The Carolina Panthers went from the NFC’s best to one of the worst teams record-wise in 2016, and even though they were competitive on the field and lost many close games, it was clear that the team wasn’t going to make another playoff run by the season’s midway point.
But for some reason, the team’s coaching staff never accepted that fact, and continued to put quarterback Cam Newton on the field to take hit after hit behind a shaky offensive line, even when he was banged up. At some point, they should’ve realized that the season was a wash, and their franchise signal-caller’s health was in jeopardy.
There was a time back in mid-December — just days after the Panthers were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, actually — that the team acknowledged Newton’s shoulder injury, yet he still practiced, and played in the game that followed.
In fact, Newton played in every single game, sans one, against the Bucs in Week 5. And we have to wonder why. The team could’ve potentially shut him down in mid-December to allow him to rest up for next season, but elected not to.
Well now it seems that Newton needs surgery to repair his partially-torn rotator cuff, which an MRI revealed. It’s now March already, and now the decision to go under the knife has been made. We have to wonder why the team waited this long, and, most importantly, why Newton played in those meaningless games.
So in the best-case scenario, Newton will be ready to resume throwing in training camp. But it’s going to take time for him to adjust to the surgically-repaired shoulder. Coming back from a rotator cuff injury takes time, and the team should’ve realized that, and either shut him down late in the season to allow him to rest, or elected to have him undergo surgery awhile back.
About Matt Birch
Matt manages all editorial operations for The Sports Daily. His work has been featured on MSN, Fox Sports, Yardbarker, SB Nation and Bleacher Report. Matt has also written for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He enjoys eating good food, shooting hoops and making original, compelling stories go viral.