The 2016 season wasn’t a pretty one for the Carolina Panthers and the final regular season grades are officially in the book…
After a masterful MVP 2015 season, Cam Newton came crashing back down to earth in what was a forgettable 2016. The Panthers’ quarterback struggled for much of the year never getting into a rhythm with his receivers or with the offense in general. The addition of Kelvin Benjamin should have allowed Newton to soar to even greater heights but instead he regressed. His completion percentage (52.9%) was the lowest of his six-year career and his touchdown numbers decreased while his interceptions increased (19:14). What was possibly the most alarming part of Newton’s down year was his lack of presence in the team’s ground game. He had the lowest rushing yardage total (359) of his career by almost 300 yards and tied a career low in rushing scores (5), carrying the ball just 90 times. Part of that could have been the beginning of Newton’s evolution to a more of a pocket-passer but also could have been because of the injuries sustained throughout the year. Newton was at the center of the conversation surrounding player safety this season as he repeatedly suffered illegal blows to the head that went uncalled and suffered a concussion. Overall, whether the injuries and lack of rushing are to blame, Cam will need to get back to his 2015 form and forget this miserable 2016.