Ron Rivera coached Cam Newton for nine years while the two were in Carolina and although the coach will no longer be working with the former MVP, he is still a believer in Newton’s talent.
“He’s headed in the right direction,” Rivera said on 670 The Score. “I mean, he’s probably about as healthy as it gets from what I’ve seen on video. I think he’s ready to bust out…I would never bet against the young man, that’s for sure.”
Obviously, Rivera isn’t speaking about literally betting on Newton and the Patriots, as they’ll likely lose a few games and fail to cover others. Newton’s former coach is simply publicly displaying confidence in the QB, something that others fail to see.
Newton led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, though in the subsequent years, he struggled. In 2016, his team was 6-10 and he ranked 25th in QBR. The next season, the Panthers rose to 11-5 behind Newton, though he ranked just 19th in QBR.
Newton played excellent football during the first half of 2018 before injuries slowed him down. The Panthers were 6-2, leading the NFC South, and Newton was 12th in QBR while completing 67.3 percent of his passes under Norv Turner’s offense. Some had Newton in the MVP conversation. However, his right shoulder let him down and the team collapsed in the season half of the year. Newton would only play two games in 2019, showing rust after undergoing foot surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury prior to the season.
“Don’t bet against him,” Rivera added. “I really wouldn’t. First of all, you got to know who he is and understand what all he’s gone through. He’s a guy that’s always tried to do things, I think, because he’s felt the pressure. He felt the pressure of being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of having won the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of being a black quarterback, with all the stuff that’s been heaped on him.
“He’s really had to find his way through it, and he’s done a great job with it.”