Cam Newton will start; Luke Kuechly on track with concussion recovery

Game Kids Tuomo Ruutu Jersey Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will start Monday night at Washington despite being listed as questionable on Saturday¡¯s final injury report.

The reigning NFL MVP was limited in practice Wednesday through Friday with soreness in his shoulder but practiced in full Saturday.

Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly also was listed as questionable with a concussion that has kept him out the past three games. He will start if he passes the final phase of the concussion protocol.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection was in the same situation last week but failed the final test. The biggest difference is that he has been a full participant in practice all this week as opposed to only Friday last week.

In the big picture, even having the likes of Bellore and Hodges available probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. The Niners’ defense ranked near the bottom of most major categories entering Sunday’s game with both of them in the lineup.

Instead, the 49ers’ game of musical inside linebackers Sunday was more illustrative of the root problem for the team: a roster that lacks talent and depth. Throughout the season, 49ers coach Chip Kelly and his staff have been unafraid to make changes in personnel whether for injury or lack of production.

They swapped starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert out for Colin Kaepernick after five weeks because Gabbert wasn’t playing well enough. Kelly even went back to Gabbert in a loss to Chicago in hopes of finding an offensive spark. Because of injuries, the Niners have rolled out different starters at just about every other position save for right tackle and the three specialists.

Game Kids Tyreek Hill Jersey None of those attempts to right the ship has led to victory. As of Sunday, it’s been 96 days since the Niners have had one of those. It’s an indictment of everyone making football decisions for the franchise over the past few years. And it offers yet another reminder that meaningful change must be in the offing if real solutions are to be found.

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