Ron Rivera does not have to worry about a lockout, a rookie quarterback, less than 100% participation at OTAs, or the severe number of injuries that occurred last year. He has a second-year quarterback in Cam Newton who has an incredible work ethic and wants to do even better this year.
When asked whether he thought Newton would be susceptible to a sophomore slump, Rivera responded, “I will say this about a sophomore slump – if there’s anybody that’s going work through it, he’s going to work through it. When the season was over, one of the things he said was he wanted to find a way to make sure he didn’t have one. I think the less we talk about it, the less we get caught up in it, the better. It’s like the Madden curse, he really wanted to be the cover. I think that’s the thing. Instead of running from it, saying, oh, I hope it doesn’t happen – it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to let it happen. I think that’s his approach to the sophomore slump.”
Rivera also thinks that having everyone else around Newton step up will contribute to their offense as well.
“I also think the guys around him have to continue to step up. Our running backs have to continue to go. I think the addition of (Mike) Tolbert gives us something extra because it’s now a fullback that’s a multitalented and versatile guy. Our tight end situation with Greg Olsen is solid. We have (Gary) Barnidge and Ben (Hartsock) sitting there – guys that give us a different kind of look. And the continued development of our receiving corps. The young guys have got to step up, whether it’s David Gettis getting back to 100 percent, whether it’s Kealoha (Pilares) taking the next step, whether it’s Armanti (Edwards) stepping up, Darvin Adams stepping up, Joe Adams becoming a part of that.”
If the reports from Cam Newton that he is leaps and bounds better than last year are true, then we are in for an exciting year.