Yesterday, Coach Ron Rivera again named Cam Newton the starting quarterback for the second week in a row. Rivera asserts that this is not a revelation of the Panthers’ starting quartback for the season. In other words, Rivera isn’t ready to name Newton starter for the regular season opener against Arizona. After last week, anyone who watched Cam play against Miami can agree why this move makes sense. Rivera knows what he is doing, and he isn’t going to throw Newton to the wolves and destroy any futre of a successful NFL career. Join us after the break as we analyze Rivera’s announcement.
1) Cam Newton does not have enough experience to be a starter as of right now. Okay, Cam does have the athletic ability that most NFL QB’s wish they had, but he doesn’t have the experience that they have. Most quarterback’s are better by the time they have played 4-5 seasons in the NFL. Now, there are exceptions to this rule (see Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Ben Roeslithberger, Peyton Manning…etc). With that being said, Cam Newton is not going to come out of the gate and win the team 10 wins, like many hope he might. He may be a great quarterback, but he is still a rookie. Not only is he a rookie, but his first off season was scarred by a 4 1/2 month lockout that prevented him from any type of off season development. Normally players in his position receive months of development and training before their preseason begins. Frankly, Newton missed out on his development and it is going to show. He will show more mistakes than most rookies because of it. The fact is: we haven’t seen enough of Newton to determine if he is ready to be a starter in the NFL. Hopefully this next preseason game will give the coaching staff a definitive answer as to who will start in Week 1.
2) Cam Newton should be developed before thrown into a starting position. Newton is a great athlete, but he hasn’t had to be a pass first quarterback before. He relied on the scramble and his running ability to win games at Auburn last year, and at Blynn JuCo the year before. Now, Newton has the arm strength to compete in the NFL, and he has the accuracy (most of the time). But, as we saw in the previous preseason games, he has numerous moments where his judgement and accuracy are questionable. He under throws and overthrows the ball on many occasions, and tends to over read the defense. These are all things that could be fixed by sitting for a few games during the regular season. Clausen is not the Panthers’ answer, but he has the ability to lead the team to a few more wins than last season while Newton develops. Derek Anderson is still on the roster and could be used as a starter for the first 4-6 games to let Newton get some more development. Anderson is a veteran that was very successful the last time he played with Chudzinski.
3)Cam Newton has potential, it just has to be tapped. Newton will probably come out and look similar to Sam Bradford. Bradford was strong last year, but didn’t have a deep receiving core and he looked like a rookie 96% of the time. He didn’t have “amazing” stats as most people see them, but for a rookie he was solid. Cam’s saving grace lies in the hands of the Panthers’ D. This defense will make Cam Newton look better. As I said, he will make rookie mistakes but with the help of the veterans on defense, and offense, we may see Cam control the game a bit better. The players on defense could actually help Newton read other defenses. The Panthers need to step up as a team in order to help Newton become their guy. He has the ability to lead the team to an 8-8 record, but with the short amount of time he has had, 6-10 or 7-9 should be a reasonable goal.
Be sure to watch Newton this week. His actions and decisions this week will determine if the starting position is locked. Like I’ve said before, the job is his to lose and if he doesn’t step up he might lose the job to Clausen. I have faith that Rivera will make the right decision about which quarterback to start, whether it is Newton, Clausen or even Anderson. No matter the starting quarterback, Panther Nation should stand behind Rivera’s decision and cheer on the Panthers.