Cam Newton to start in Jacksonville Thursday

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera confirms Cam Newton will start Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Newton has been relegated to the sidelines for the first two preseason games, but he will suit up this week.

"I am excited because it will be an opportunity to see (Newton) out there with all the different players we brought in, all the different playmakers that we believe we have," Rivera said.

Newton last played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the regular season finale. He underwent surgery on a partially torn rotator cuff in March after injuring his shoulder in a Week 14 game against the San Diego Chargers.

Newton threw passes in practice on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Something else to watch for is how far will Newton throw downfield, and how many passes he throws.

What to expect? Will the timing with his receivers be there? That will be something to watch for in the game.

Most of the starters are expected to play into the second half Thursday night, but Rivera says Newton will operate under a different plan and likely won't see any second-half action.

Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel, who has been dealing with a strained hamstring, is also expected to make his preseason debut on Thursday. Samuel returned to this week to take part in team drills.

The Panthers are coming off a 34-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars have decisions to make at quarterback.

Chad Henne will start at quarterback for the Jaguars instead of usual starter Blake Bortles.

Also, rookie running back and fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette will not play because of a foot injury.

You can catch the game on ABC11 at 7:30 p.m.

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