Ron Rivera is doubling Cam Newton’s workload this week, but last year’s Rookie of the Year is only expected to play the first half Friday against Miami.
Newton was 2-of-6 for 17 yards in three series last week in a 26-13 loss to Houston. Newton was in for 13 snaps, producing a field goal on his final drive. He also rushed for 16 yards on two carries.
Rivera said he expects the starters to play the first half against the Dolphins.
“Ideally, 25 plays would be perfect,” Rivera said.
The Panthers will be without veteran linebackers Jon Beason (hamstring) and Thomas Davis (calf) for the second consecutive game. Jason Phillips, who had an interception against the Texans, will start in the middle in place of Beason.
Defensive tackle Andre Neblett remains out with an undisclosed medical issue. Defensive end Eric Norwood, who sprained his knee last week, will play against the Dolphins, Rivera said.
Gettis getting healthy: Wide receiver David Gettis sat out all of training camp while he continued nursing his surgically repaired ACL. He remains hopeful he’ll get in the final two preseason games.
“When I get back, I’ll be back for a couple preseason games and be prepared to go out there and get ready to make plays,” Gettis said Thursday.
Gettis said the plan is to be ready for the New York Jets on Aug. 26, and said he’s currently at 80 percent. At full health, Gettis is considered to be a contender for the No. 3 receiver spot behind Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the field and just making sure I’m 100 percent and I’m at my best.”
Tolbert’s moves: When running back DeAngelo Williams was asked about the addition of Mike Tolbert, one of the first things he brought up was Tolbert’s dance moves.
The new fullback from San Diego is excited to break out his dancing shoes and hopes it happens Friday against the Dolphins.
“I can’t wait. They’re trying to get me in the end zone this week to give them something,” said Tolbert, who added he doesn’t plan his moves. “That’s the thing. I cross the goal line, and it just happens.”
Bidding wars: The Panthers auctioned off two Super Bowl packages – with two tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations in New Orleans – at their annual kickoff luncheon Thursday. One of the winning bids of $11,500 was placed by Williams, who was encouraged by teammates sitting at nearby tables at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Tolbert didn’t realize Williams was bidding.
“Oh man, I didn’t think DeAngelo had it in him. He’s a frugal guy. For him to be doing that, it shows what kind of man he is to do it for the charity,” Tolbert said. “But hopefully he won’t need them, right? Hopefully we get our own free tickets when we go.”
Extra points: Rivera said Captain Munnerlyn would start at cornerback opposite Chris Gamble. But rookie corner Josh Norman is expected to get extended work after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury.
• Haruki Nakamura, Charles Godfrey and Sherrod Martin will rotate at the two safety spots. Nakamura, the free agent acquisition from Baltimore, worked at first-team free safety Thursday.
• Because of increased security at Bank of America Stadium, the Panthers encourage fans to arrive early for tonight’s game. Gates open at 6 p.m.
Staff writer Jonathan Jones contributed.
Dolphins at Panthers
8 p.m. Friday, Bank of America Stadium
TV: Fox (WCCB in Charlotte)
PRESEASON RECORDS: Panthers 0-1; Dolphins 0-1.
INJURIES: Panthers – OUT: LB Jon Beason (hamstring), LB Thomas Davis (calf), DT Andre Neblett (undisclosed medical issue) and CB Brandon Hogan (knee).
Dolphins – OUT: QB David Garrard (knee), LB Karlos Dansby (undisclosed), LB Kevin Burnett (undisclosed), DE Cameron Wake (car accident), DT Tony McDaniel (knee) and WR Brian Hartline (calf).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ...
When the Panthers have the ball:
The Panthers had protection issues last week against Houston, allowing eight sacks. Most of them came with the second- and third-string linemen in the game, but the first unit had trouble with blitz pickup, as well. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski likely won’t show too much of the zone read package, so it’s important for the line to protect Cam Newton and give him a chance to develop a rhythm.
When the Dolphins have the ball:
First-year coach Joe Philbin did not announce his starting quarterback, although rookie Ryan Tannehill is expected to get the nod over former Panthers QB Matt Moore. Regardless of who’s in the game, the front four has to do a better job collapsing the pocket. The Panthers got pressure last week with a blitz by cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. Rookie corner Josh Norman, the fifth-round pick who had four interceptions in Tuesday’s practice, gets his first chance to show what he can do in a game.
When the Panthers’ special teams are on the field:
Things could not have started worse last week for this much-maligned unit. Justin Medlock’s short kickoff resulted in a 90-yard touchdown return by the Texans’ Trindon Holliday. All eyes will be on the kicking battle between Medlock and Olindo Mare, although the coverage teams have to pick it up.
— Joseph Person