If you were to peg the Carolina Panthers 1-4 record on a single player, that player would more than likely be the quarterback. The Panthers offense has been stagnant through their first five weeks of the regular season. There is no sugar coating the problem or any scenario worth blaming when it comes to the poor production from both the passing and running game.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been the target for most of the blame and has even received unwarranted ridicule from a local newspaper. Whether it is necessary or unnecessary criticism, Newton’s four passing touchdowns to five interceptions ratio can’t go without questioning his current frame of mind.
Newton’s sophomore slump isn’t as surprising as the lack luster play calling from offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. With that being said, Newton’s bad performances on the field should also be taken into account.
Did Newton come into this season with a “take it easy” mental approach when preparing for upcoming games?
His recent comments on Wednesday to the Charlotte Observer came after a one-on-one chat Newton had with his father Cecil Newton and suggest such an assumption to be accurate.
Newton implied that he might have strayed away from what made him so unstoppable during his rookie campaign: “the small things, preparing for each and every game, valuing each and every possession.”
Week seven of the regular season might not have been the best time for Newton to realize his head wasn’t where it should have been. Preparation is the key to success for a quarterback in the NFL, especially for someone as young as Newton.
The bye week though was as good of a time as any to allow Newton to let himself figure this whole mess out, but Newton’s admitted lack of preparation is only just one piece to Carolina’s offensive puzzle, a puzzle that has many missing pieces right now.
The playoffs might have already past Newton and the Panthers by, but there is still time to salvage the season and perhaps finish second within the NFC South.
At the very least, Carolina’s week seven showdown with the Dallas Cowboys at home will be yet another giant stage and one they can’t have a let down on this time around.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1.