Five years ago when the Carolina Panthers drafted Jimmy Clausen, many Panther fans will admit we finally thought we found our franchise. However with a 2-14 and Jimmy C’s lack of pocket presence, we knew we didn’t have what we have always wanted.
2011 NFL Draft
Now this bring me to the 2011 NFL in which the Carolina Panthers selected their current QB Cam Newton with the first overall pick. Now with this pick I think most Panthers had mixed emotions from this pick, based on the fact that Cam’s unique style never really translated to the NFL level. Hey, what the heck we all thought, Cam has to be better than Jimmy C right? Cam first two NFL games, he put entire league on notice with his performances against Arizona and Green Bay—both games I attended. Man-Oh-Man, Panther Nation was excited to have this young exciting talent; many fans finally felt that we found the QB that the franchise has been look for. Yet I wasn’t’ sold on Cam for the fact that his footwork and ability to read an NFL defenses needed substantial improvement. However he was rookie right, so his footwork, accuracy, and ability to read defenses will certainly improve as time goes on, right???????
The Carolina Panthers went 12-4 and all Panther nation was saying “ we told you so we told you Cam is elite.” Do you all remember the pretty blond in high school that look great on the outside and everyone thought she was perfect, until she started talking….. meaning on the outside she fooled everyone, but when you actually hold a conversation with her you realized what she truly is. Cam Newton reminds me of the “High School Blonde,” but a dude. Handsome, 6’6 245 with little to no body fat with a smile that can light up a room. Cam’s appearance, from his smile to his gestures, has poisoned Panthers’ fans into believing Cam is our franchise QB. Now Cam is a great person and he does a lot for the community in Charlotte; my god the kid is awesome, but all that Cam is doesn’t translate to a great NFL QB. The 2013 season was the worst thing that could have happened for a franchise that has been looking for a savior. The Carolina Panthers went 12-4, won the NFC South, and hosted a playoff game. With a season like this, one would say… Carolina must have an elite QB, since that position is the position that normally translates to wins. Looking at season closely reveals some important information about Carolina’s Cam Newton.
|1||Sun||September 8||boxscore||L||0-1||Seattle Seahawks||7||12|
|2||Sun||September 15||boxscore||L||0-2||@||Buffalo Bills||23||24|
|3||Sun||September 22||boxscore||W||1-2||New York Giants||38||0|
|5||Sun||October 6||boxscore||L||1-3||@||Arizona Cardinals||6||22|
|6||Sun||October 13||boxscore||W||2-3||@||Minnesota Vikings||35||10|
|7||Sun||October 20||boxscore||W||3-3||St. Louis Rams||30||15|
|8||Thu||October 24||boxscore||W||4-3||@||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31||13|
|9||Sun||November 3||boxscore||W||5-3||Atlanta Falcons||34||10|
|10||Sun||November 10||boxscore||W||6-3||@||San Francisco 49ers||10||9|
|11||Mon||November 18||boxscore||W||7-3||New England Patriots||24||20|
|12||Sun||November 24||boxscore||W||8-3||@||Miami Dolphins||20||16|
|13||Sun||December 1||boxscore||W||9-3||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||6|
|14||Sun||December 8||boxscore||L||9-4||@||New Orleans Saints||13||31|
|15||Sun||December 15||boxscore||W||10-4||New York Jets||30||20|
|16||Sun||December 22||boxscore||W||11-4||New Orleans Saints||17||13|
|17||Sun||December 29||boxscore||W||12-4||@||Atlanta Falcons||21||20|
|Division||Sun||January 12||boxscore||L||12-5||San Francisco 49ers||10||23|
At least nine of the eleven wins were due to Carolina’s defense. Yes, there were a few 30-point games sprinkled in, but that came mainly because of the defense put the offense in great field position. Cam Newton was nothing more than a “Game Manger.” Yes, I said it, a game manager. Cam was asked not to lose the games for Carolina, and he managed well. A game manger is not a franchise QB, however. You don’t pay “Game Mangers” $100 million dollars. I will give Cam credit, he ran a servable offense and he was able to improve his completion percentage, while lowering his overall INTs. His steady performance allowed Carolina’s defense to lead the 2013 Panthers to a 12-4 season.
Now do you remember when I said previously so “I am sure his footwork, accuracy, and reading defenses will certainly improve as time goes on right???????” Four years later, Cam still has the same problems he had four years ago. You may still hear Ron Rivera say “Cam is still learning to play the position.” Four years later, Panthers fans are still saying “if Cam plays well, we can win.” Why do we as Panther fans have to hope and wish for an “if” with Cam. Do you think Green Bay fans say, “I hope Aaron Rogers plays well.” We still have no idea what we are going to get from Cam from week-to-week. Remember when Nolan Naworcki said those things about Cam and everybody killed him? Now I don’t agree with everything he said, but it’s hard to deny Naworcki’s assessment that “Cam will show flashes of greatness, but will fail to do it consistently and will struggle with is accuracy and reading NFL defenses.? Still think that is our QB?
Ok! Cam has you fooled.
Let me give you one example. Remember the Bengal game this year, (I was in attendance), Cam was single handily beating the Bengals. People in the stands had this look of amazement. (flashes of greatness). He di this with the same OL getting killed all year. What has Cam done since though? Last week against the Vikings, offensive line protection was improved, giving up only four hits, but Cam still missed open receivers. Once down 14 points, it seemed to get worse (fail to do it consistently and will struggle with is accuracy and reading NFL defenses). After four years, I have to say Nolan Naworcki got this one right.
Our Panthers are struggling, causing much talk about Cam in the Carolinas. Are the Panthers struggles all Cam’s fault? No, but Cam isn’t the answer for Carolina. His style of play doesn’t translate into wins in the NFL, just look at Colin Kaepernick, RG 3, Vince Young, and Mike Vick to name a few. Bottom line, it takes a consistent pocket passer to win consistently in the NFL. The experiment of learning how to play QB before you are drafted is over. NFL GM’s will be looking for the next Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, but not the next Cam Newton. If you don’t believe me, look at this year’s division leaders. What type of quarterbacks do they have?
Now, Carolina will more than likely pay Cam 100 million next year, because if they don’t it will be a PR nightmare, but it will ultimately end in Carolina being average for years to come.
By Bryan Austin
Follow on Twitter: @bryanaustin596