Leading ESPN analyst worried about Cam Newton after latest loss

(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton
(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton /

A leading analyst has questioned whether former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton still has what it takes.

It seems like former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been out of action for a long time. The popular quarterback took the field for the first time since contracting COVID-19 against the Denver Broncos, which saw the New England Patriots beaten following a disappointing display.

Newton himself said that both he and the team were a little rusty after hardly practicing over the last fortnight. The former No. 1 overall pick is at least holding himself accountable for failings. But a little perspective needs to be shown regarding a player that the Carolina Panthers decided to move on from in free agency.

His fast start to a second starting opportunity seems like a distant memory right about now. However, it won’t be a surprise to see Newton turn things around despite the stiff challenges awaiting the Patriots in the coming weeks.

Stephen A. Smith is not sold on the former Carolina Panthers QB.

One NFL analyst brought into question whether such an eventuality was possible. When discussing Newton on ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith stated he was “not yet sold” on the player thanks in no small part to his lack of accuracy in the passing game throughout his career.

"“I’m not sold on Cam primarily because of his injuries and rust. We all know how effectively he can run the football but the bottom line is that opposing defenses will dare Cam to beat them with his arm. The practices haven’t been frequent and this has been an impediment to his success, but Cam has only completed 60 percent of his pass twice in his career and one of those was when Norv Turner was his coach in Carolina before he got hurt. I think you’re going to see teams make Cam show you what he can do throwing the football and I’m not sold that he is in a position to do that, which is why I am worried.”"

This might be a little harsh to presume given the difficulties both Newton and the Patriots have suffered in recent weeks. There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of talent around the quarterback, which only hampers his chances of proving the Panthers wrong between now and the end of the campaign.

Newton does have a 68.1 completion percentage through four games, which is far higher than the 59.1% he accumulated during his time in Carolina. It was always going to be a big challenge for a player who was idolized by the Panthers’ fanbase after missing almost 18 months of action and going onto a team that has been decimated by COVID-19 opt-outs and a distinct lack of quality in the passing game.

Stephen A. is right in that sense. The best way to beat Newton and the Patriots is to keep the dual-threat weapon in the pocket and limit his ability to impact the game running the football. Once teams figure this sort of thing out, it is only going to hamper his chances of making a real go of things in a different environment.

However, count Newton out at your peril.

The 2015 NFL MVP has overcome plenty of adversity throughout his career. This situation is no different and it is something Newton himself needs to find an answer for if he wants to make his stay in New England a longer-term arrangement.

More. 5 Carolina Panthers players who look primed for long-term deals. light

As for the Panthers, they are getting what they expected from Teddy Bridgewater, who has been relatively consistent with a couple of disappointing performances thrown in against the Buccanneers and Bears.