First allow me to say I am fanatical about the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton. I started writing this article to show how Cam was better in his first 8 games than RGIII has been in his. I was so convinced of this I titled the article “Don’t believe the hype”. As I was researching I became increasingly aware of one thing, when it comes to anything RGIII, I was a hater.
Cam Newton is the best athlete/quarterback/rookie I have ever seen. He was the reason Auburn won their national title in 2010. He was, more often than not, head and shoulders better than the rest of the players on the field. That’s why he won the Heisman trophy that same year. When he got to the NFL that gap shrunk. Robert Griffin III was good in college but I didn’t see him making those same type of jaw dropping plays Cam made. I’m not saying RGIII wasn’t any good in college,after all he won the Heisman trophy the year after Cam did. Well we all know the type of season Cam had his rookie year in the NFL, RGIII is on his way to bettering Cam’s success. Let’s do a comparison of these 2 supremely gifted and talented players.
These comparisons are based on the first 8 games of each player’s career. Before we dive into these numbers, let me remind you readers of one thing. The accomplishments of Cam’s rookie season were after an offseason drastically shortened by the lockout. That means he had no significant contact with coaches. There was an injunction to the lockout that allowed Cam to come into possession of a playbook but little else in the way of actual coaching. Cam started the season without the benefit of O.T.A’s (Organized Team Activities), no significant time with offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, little time with quarterback coach Mike Shula, and most significantly Cam had less opportunity to build chemistry with teammates. Additionally, the fact is this was a new coaching staff and they were trying to implement a new system on offense, this allows you to get a sense of how many obstacles Cam overcame to have the success he achieved his rookie season. That being said let’s look at those numbers. Again, these are from the first 8 games of rookie season.
Cam Newton RGIII
61% completion rate 67% completion rate
2,393 yards passing 1,778 yards passing
11 passing TDs 9 INTs 8 passing TDs 3 INTs
319 rush yards 7 TDs (4 Fumbles) 476 rush yards 6 TDs (8 Fumbles)
.474 opponents win % .559 opponents win %
These numbers show that through the first 8 games of his rookie year, RGIII has been the better quarterback. He has more of the most important stat, wins, and against better competition. I believe these numbers reflect the value of having a full offseason. The O.T.A’s, film study, working with your position coaches, learning the offense from your coordinator, and being under the direct supervision of your head coach goes a long way toward achieving success in your rookie season. Had Cam been able to participate in a full offseason program and hone his skills under the direction of his coaches, who knows what more he could have done to the NFL record book! Maybe Cam would have won Rookie of the Year and NFL MVP!
The NFL gets to showcase 2 of it’s most marketable athletes on Sunday. Cam versus RGIII is what all the headlines will read. In actuality, these 2 quarterbacks will get to show off their mobility, accuracy, arm strength, and decision making against a couple of less than stellar defenses. This game will feature lots of big plays, so hide the women and children, it’s gonna be a shootout. Folks my advice is, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
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