One of the reasons why Steve Smith is my favorite NFL player is because he is willing to criticize his own players, and hopefully his words regarding Cam Newton’s attitude strike a note with the struggling sophomore quarterback.
The Carolina Panthers star receiver said (The Charlotte Observer), “I watched D.A. and Jimmy (Clausen), they don’t play in 20-something games last year. And they get up and they observe and learn and get those mental reps,” Smith said. “I told him, ‘You can get some mental reps or you can sit on that bench and sulk.’”
Smith called the words he used “unchoice words”, and it’s good to see that the captain is trying to help Newton get out of his slump from a mental standpoint. A lot of the talk surrounding Newton’s sophomore slump has to do with the unrealistic expectations heaped upon him, due to out fantasy football driven landscape these days.
Joseph Person also notes that Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil had to talk with Newton about not adding enough “positive energy” to the team’s huddle when Newton was a rookie. This isn’t a non-issue in my eyes, but it isn’t something to stretch. It isn’t ideal to see your quarterback sulking on the bench, but he is a young QB who threw three interceptions.
It’s good to see Smith dealing his “unchoice words”, and it’s that honesty and bluntness that helps make him such a great player to have on the team. I expect Newton to bounce back sooner than later, and let’s all hope that Smith’s words are a catalyst. I strongly recommend clicking on the link above and reading the other things Smith had to say, because they are truthful and insightful- as usual.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.