Inside the Panthers

Panthers’ Cam Newton expected to start at Washington - and be properly attired

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) is at the final step of the NFL’s concussion protocol – again – after practicing with the team all week. He is listed as questionable for Monday night.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) is at the final step of the NFL’s concussion protocol – again – after practicing with the team all week. He is listed as questionable for Monday night. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera expects quarterback Cam Newton to start at Washington, despite being bothered by a sore throwing shoulder for much of the week.

Rivera also expects Newton to comply with the team's dress code policy – as well as every other player.

Sunday's flight to Washington will be the Panthers' first since Newton was benched for the first series at Seattle on Dec. 4 for failing to wear a tie on the charter from San Jose to Seattle.

"I don't anticipate any problems (or) situations," Rivera said Saturday. "Again, we had one and we've dealt with it. We've moved on."

Newton, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (back) and linebackers Luke Kuechly and David Mayo, both of whom have been dealing with post-concussion symptoms, are listed as questionable for the Monday night game.

Defensive end Charles Johnson will miss his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Right tackle Daryl Williams will sit his third game in a row with a high ankle sprain.

Rivera expressed optimism about the status of Newton and Benjamin, who injured his back after making a catch at practice early in the week. Both were listed as full participation for Saturday's practice, which a team spokesman described as more of an installation session.

"(Benjamin) looked good. Moved around well, caught the ball," Rivera said. "He's right on track."

Newton said much the same about Newton, who has gone four consecutive games with completion percentages below 50 percent. Barring an unforeseen setback, Newton will get the chance to break that streak against former teammate Josh Norman and the rest of the Washington secondary.

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