Taylor’s turn: With QB Cam Newton out, Panthers turn to ODU’s Heinicke

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Panthers head coach Ron Rivera confirmed that quarterback Cam Newton will not play against the Falcons this Sunday due to the right shoulder injury that's been hampering him in recent weeks.

After starting the season 6-2, the Panthers dropped six straight games - all but mathematically eliminating them from playoff contention.

Second-string quarterback Taylor Heincke will start in his absence while third-striger Kyle Allen will be Heincke's backup.

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton looks to pass against the New Orleans Saints in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte N.C. Monday Dec. 17 2018
Cam Newton To Be Shut Down By Panthers For Remainder Of NFL Season

So, what is there to make a Panthers fan bother watching the final two regular season games besides blind loyalty, and what, if anything, can the Panthers hope to get out of these games for 2019 and beyond?

"We had the opportunity to visit with the doctors, the trainers and Cam himself", Rivera said. From the range of motion, you work on the range of motion then come game time and you never know how the game can play out. Rivera said Newton was "disappointed" about the decision, but understood the team's thinking.

It was time to shut Newton down, which the Panthers finally did Wednesday - at least for this week's game against Atlanta.

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Newton was not made available for comment on Wednesday, but discussed how hard it's been with not knowing what is wrong with the shoulder after Monday night's loss to the Saints.

Newton completed 16 of 29 pass attempts with no touchdowns and one interception for a season-low 52.5 passer rating against the Saints.

Three weeks ago, before a loss at Tampa Bay, Newton said he was playing the best football of his career.

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Center Ryan Kalil feels shutting down Newton is the prudent approach for the organization.

Newton has been dealing with a shoulder injury since Week 8 when he was first listed on the injury report. It's no secret that he has been struggling with it the last month or so.

Wright said defensive backs on other teams have told him "we're not scared of you guys going deep".

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