Why former Panthers QB Cam Newton deserves a pass this season

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton /

Former Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton deserves a pass this season.

It proved to be another frustrating afternoon for former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in Week 8. The 2015 NFL MVP failed to get the New England Patriots over the line down the stretch in a narrow loss to the Buffalo Bills, which concluded with a fumble from the signal-caller when his team was in field goal range.

This continues a concerning run of form for Newton after he returned following his COVID-19 scare. The Carolina Panthers decided to part ways with their face of the franchise this offseason in favor of Teddy Bridgewater, who has also been hit and miss of late during a three-game losing run for Matt Rhule’s men.

The ex-Carolina Panthers QB isn’t working with much.

It was always going to be hard for Newton to make his presence felt on a Patriots team that lost so many defensive players to opt-outs and with so little weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Tom Brady had the same problem in New England last season and a quarterback can only work with the receivers at his disposal.

That being said, the former No. 1 overall pick needs to play better. There is no excuse for coughing up the ball at such a crucial moment and nobody knows that more than Newton himself.4

He eventually finished the 24-21 defeat with 15 passes completed from 25 attempts, 174 passing yards, 54 rushing yards, no touchdowns, and a fumble lost. Newton has only thrown for two scores this season after a strong start to the campaign and the doubts surrounding his long-term future with a franchise that might just be able to pick up a top quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft are growing with every passing week.

The microscope is always going to be on someone larger than life such as Newton than most players. But it’s wise to give him a pass of sorts this season.

Here’s why.

First, no matter how good Newton looked in his offseason Instagram posts, he still hadn’t taken any meaningful snaps for 18 months. Arriving at the Patriots so late and with no preseason games on the schedule made it even more difficult for the player to acclimatize and wherever he ends up in 2021, he should be better for this experience.

Second, the Patriots are a mess. This is a team that is a shell of the force that dominated the NFL for so long and it’s clear that Bill Belichick is overseeing a period of transition for the first time in two decades.

Thirdly, making Newton the scapegoat is the easy option. This was a low risk, high reward move for the Patriots at the price, and given the lack of quality around him, it makes it difficult for anyone to make the one-time Panther a scapegoat for their failings.

It’s sad to see Newton looking so demoralized after games. This is not what the player deserves after such an impactful career. And had the Panthers cut him loose way before they did then it might have resulted in a better chance to shine on a more competitive team.

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Newton is strong enough to get better, providing those around him also raise their respective games. While he might deserve a pass for his efforts this season, NFL team don’t normally look at things so favorably.