For the Carolina Panthers, they need their star quarterback to improve in one particular area…
In a video posted on Panthers.com Friday, the subject was “7 stats to know heading into 2018.” One of the most glaring examples in the video was the third-down passer rating of Cam Newton on third down.
As the video states, Newton sported a 59.8 passer rating on third down, which was the second worst rating in the National Football League. As a team, the Carolina Panthers ranked No. 7 in the league with a 42.26 % third down percentage.
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Although the latter statistic is much more respectable, the fact that Newton’s passer rating is that low on third down is very concerning. It is something to watch heading into the 2018 campaign, although this year, I believe Newton’s numbers will be slightly better,
For starters, the team acquired “Mr. Third Down” in Jarius Wright from the Minnesota Vikings. Let’s just say he got that nickname for a reason. As Josh Klein of The Riot Report noted back in March, 40% of Wright’s career catches and yardage have come on third down. Wright is the type of wideout that is not going to put up huge numbers, but he should be efficient in situations like this. That will certainly be a big change and a nice option in comparison to what Newton had last year.
The fact that the Panthers have a new offense coordinator in Norv Turner that wants to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly also helps. That gives the receivers time to get the ball and make a move in open space. A quicker style of play could be beneficial on third down because it will then allow the wideouts to get as many opportunities for extra yards as possible.
The abysmal passer rating on third down is a statistic that Carolina Panthers should be mindful of. With that in mind, I do believe Newton will perform much better on third down come the fall.