CHARLOTTE — While Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has tried to keep things as level as possible, he acknowledged Monday the likelihood that quarterback Cam Newton will have a bigger role this week.

Rhule said that Newton would take most of the reps in practice, and if he’s comfortable with enough of the playbook and plans, he’d have a chance to play more or start against the Washington Football Team.

P.J. Walker started Sunday since Newton only had one full practice to prepare, and Rhule said there was a package of 10 to 15 plays Newton was comfortable with going into the Cardinals game. He was obviously pretty comfortable with those, since he scored touchdowns on the first two snaps he was on the field.

“We’ll give Cam most of the reps and try to get him as brought up to speed as possible,” Rhule said. “I thought he did a great job last week having 10 plays he was kind of ready for, 10 to 15.

“So we’ll start getting him ready, and if he’s ready to start, great. And if he’s not quite ready to do everything, obviously P.J. is available. So that’s kind of the plan right now.”

After putting in a fast package of plays, they’ll obviously need to expand that in practice this week, work that began on Monday.

“So we’ll do the best we can, and see where we are later in the week,” Rhule said. “But he will get most of the reps.”

— The Panthers started the seventh combination of offensive linemen in 10 weeks Sunday, and had one of their best games of the year up front.

They didn’t allow a sack for just the second time this season, while they ran for 166 yards.

That was with veteran interior lineman Pat Elflein replacing the injured Matt Paradis at center, a job of high responsibility since he calls all the protections at the line, along with having to learn a new quarterback on the fly as much as the quarterback’s learning things.

“When we signed Pat, we knew that if anything happened to Matt, Pat would be an excellent center,” Rhule said. “I thought Pat played an excellent game inside.

“We controlled the line of scrimmage, still too many penalties, but I thought (tackles) Dennis Daley and Taylor Moton did a nice job on the edges, and we were stout inside.”

— Speaking of the offensive line, Rhule said left tackle Daley appeared to be OK after leaving the game late. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by Brady Christensen.

“Saw him in the weight room, he was moving around fine,” Rhule said of Daley, adding that he expected he’d be ready to go this week.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore had to get checked out briefly because of a finger injury, but Rhule indicated that wouldn’t be a problem moving forward either.

The status of defensive back Myles Hartsfield is unclear, after he left with a hand injury and did not return.

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