FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons are very familiar with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, having faced him twice a year since he entered the league, but there's a chance Atlanta will see a new Carolina quarterback when the two teams square off in Charlotte on Sunday.
Newton has been dealing with a shoulder injury for much of the season, and it appears to have sapped his arm strength and accuracy over the last several weeks. In the Panthers' loss to the Saints on Monday night, Newton completed 16 of his 29 pass attempts for just 131 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted Wednesday that the Panthers are expected to sit Newton this weekend against the Falcons and play backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
Prior to Rapoport's tweet surfacing, Falcons coach Dan Quinn was asked about the possibility of preparing for two quarterbacks. He stated the Falcons would prepare as though Newton would remain the starter until information indicated otherwise.
"We'll certainly prepare like it's going to be for Cam," Quinn said. "That's where we're headed first until we hear otherwise."
It's unknown whether the plan remains the same for the Falcons after Rapoport's tweet, which signals a change coming at the position for Carolina. Heinicke has played in five games this season for the Panthers, completing two of his four pass attempts for 46 yards.