Prior to the season backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke had thrown one pass for the Houston Texans, a year ago. Fast forward and after spot fill ins for Newton, totaling just five appearances and four more throws, Heinicke is going to start for the Panthers.
To keep Carolina in the football game, Heinicke doesn’t have to be Newton – the franchise quarterback isn’t going to be replaced. But he does need to play well enough to not lose the game. Avoiding turnovers and making smart decisions should be enough for the Panthers offense to generate enough points for a win.
There are plenty of other weapons to utilize, including running back Christian McCaffrey and the change may open some routes down the field. Heinicke being healthy enough to make the throws could provide a different look than we’ve seen this season.