Okay so Cam Newton has exactly made the huge splash some people thought he might make after being the number one pick in the 20011 NFL Draft.
In three games so far he has played about five quarters of football, completed 21 of 52 passes, just a 40.4% completion rate, for 275 yards, zero touchdowns and ran the ball for 67 yards and one touchdown.
Not exactly numbers that blow you away and definitely not the numbers you expect out of a starting quarterback in the NFL but nevertheless I expect head coach Ron Rivera to name Newton the starting quarterback for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals sometime this week.
And it is the right move.
Newton at quarterback gives the Carolina Panthers the best chance to win. Not Jimmy Clausen, not Derek Anderson and not Tony Pike. Its Newton.
Clausen has struggled this entire preseason and has shown exactly zero improvement from last season. He hasn’t even been able to score against the second team defenses. I know there is not a single Panther fan that wants to see Clausen playing again because it would be 2010 all over again.
And people that are calling for Derek Anderson pipe down.
Yes he played in this same system for the Browns when he had his one career year but he hasn’t exactly lit it up since then. He was cut from the Browns and then lost his starting job in Arizona last season to John Skelton, a fifth round pick out of Fordham.
But Newton has that big play ability. He has the ability to make that huge throw from any where on the field or to escape the pocket
and make that huge run breaking tackles on his way to a huge gain. Defenses have to plan against Newton and his talents, however
raw they may be. His athletic ability is just too good to keep off of the field, especially when there is not even a decent backup on the team.
Newton is the future franchise quarterback of this team and needs to be the present day quarterback as well; it is just going to take time for him to develop into a solid and consistent quarterback.
People need to realize that this rookie has about two full months of NFL experience. That is it. Zero OTA’s, zero mini camps, it
wasn’t until the lockout was lifted that Newton even got to meet all of his teammates and coaches.
That’s a lot for a 22 year old to take in much less to understand and grasp fully. It is going to take sometime but you know what the Panthers have it this season. Based on what we have seen, it is obvious the Panthers are not really going anywhere this season. But that is okay. This team is still very young, the third youngest in the league actually, so if it needs to take this year to let Newton develop and for the team to get a grasp of the new coaching schemes so be it.
It will be worth it in the long run. Look at Tampa Bay. Two season’s ago they finished 3-13, taking their licks with a rookie quarterback, Josh Freeman, at the helm. The next season, 10-6, barley missing the playoffs. There is no reason to think the Panthers couldn’t do this as well. It has just as much talent or more than the Bucs do, it just needs a quarterback.
Newton has shown some unbelievable glimpses of his natural talent and athletic ability. The touchdown run against the Bengals, the 36 yard pass to Armanti Edwards against the Giants, both plays show Newton’s big play ability and what his is capable of.
He has just got to become more consistent and that will come with time. Coaches, players and fans are just going to have to be patient and wait.