Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is inching closer to his first game action of the preseason.
Newton participated for the entirety of the Panthers’ practice for the second day in a row Tuesday and is on track to play Thursday night in the third exhibition at Jacksonville, according to coach Ron Rivera.
“A big part of it will be as long as he’s not tired or fatigued, we should be fine,” Rivera said. “We’ll see how he is after (Wednesday) morning and make a determination.”
The Panthers will not practice Wednesday before flying to Jacksonville.
Newton showed some rust last week during limited work in the joint practices with the Titans in Nashville, Tenn. And his timing was off on a few plays Monday, including a pass over the middle that linebacker Thomas Davis intercepted.
And while Tuesday’s work came against the scout-team defense, Newton appeared to be throwing free and easy. Instead of meeting with head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion between series, Newton was consulting with offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey.
“He’s starting to get it back,” Rivera said. “We’re trying to practice fast and create as close as we can the game simulation. ... You can see the timing coming back.”
Newton had a setback in his recovery from March shoulder surgery during the first week of training camp. He went 12 days without throwing live routes to receivers, and trainers have been gradually increasing his workload.
Rivera indicated Newton likely would not play as much against the Jaguars as other starters, who are expected to play into the third quarter. But the coaching staff is eager to see Newton work with Christian McCaffrey, Russell Shepard and the other new playmakers on offense.
“It should be fun. I’m confident that this group can come together,” Rivera said. “And the sooner they all get out there and work together, the quicker we’ll know.”