Newton answers questions about his game _ for now

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Questions regarding Panthers rookie Cam Newton have turned from if he'll be a good NFL quarterback to how good he'll be.

At least for now.

In his NFL debut, Newton ignited a Carolina offense that finished last in the NFL in total offense, passing yards and scoring last season by throwing for 422 yards -- the most ever by a rookie quarterback in his first career start. His passing total was one yard shy of the team record set by Chris Weinke and the fourth-highest opening day total in NFL history.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday that Newton "exceeded expectations" on Sunday, but cautioning that there will be tougher times ahead for the Heisman Trophy out of Auburn.

Rivera says "we still have some things to work on."