Spotlight On Cam Newton

By Dale Casler


John David Mercer- USA TODAY Sports

In two seasons, Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton has quickly etched out his place in the teams record book. It must be noted that the Panthers are a relatively new NFL franchise(1st season- 1995) so some of the records will certainly be broken many times over before they start to stand for longer periods of time.

But some of those records should also never belong to a quarterback.  For instance, Cam Newton has currently rushed for the 9th most yards in franchise history(1447 yds). If he keeps his current pace, by the end of next season he will sit at number 5 with just over 2100 yards. In 253 attempts, Newton boasts a franchise best yards per rush average at 5.7.  I took out any player without at least 100 rushes.

Newton was criticized for having a “down year” in 2012.  But what many critics don’t take into account is the absolute dismantling of the quarterback position that Newton is in the process of doing. He is putting up top 10 numbers at quarterback while also starring as a running back. How can one agree on what a “down season” should be for Newton when he’s only had two very incredible seasons?

Last season, Newton was the best running back on the Carolina Panthers. In fact, he bested most teams running backs in touchdowns and finished 24th in rushing yards.  In 2011(his rookie year), Newton had 14 touchdowns.  The only other running back in the league with more scores was Philadelphia Eagles, LeSean McCoy with 17.

That’s Cam Newton, the running back.  Let’s take a look at Cam Newton, the quarterback.  In 2011, Cam Newton finished the season ranked 10th in the league with 4051 yards. He finished just outside of the top ten at number 11 with 21 touchdowns. Here’s where the “down season” comes in…I guess.  In 2012, Newton finished ranked 13th with 3869 passing yards.  He threw two less touchdowns but five less interceptions. He also upped his quarterback rating from 84.5 to 86.2.

So what happened?  Let’s dive into just how Cam Newton took such a nose dive in numbers(note to reader-turn sarcasm meter on). He must have took off running more right?  Well he did.  In 2011, Newton ran the ball 126 times. In 2012? The number was 127. So just so we’re clear here, Newton added one more run and upped his rushing yardage total by 35 yards in his “down year”.

Newton also threw the ball 32 less times times in 2012 compared with 2011.  This explains the measly drop in yards clearly.  Newton averaged eight yards a pass in 2012, so giving him 32 more passes would have hypothetically had his total passing yards at 4125, besting his previous season.

Cam Newton is an incredible athlete that has some maturing to do, no doubt.  But Cam Newton the football player is killing it on the field and to say the guy had a down year is really only justified if it’s only touchdowns in the conversation.  In 2012 he rushed for 6 less TDS and passed for 2 less scores as well.

I can’t wait to see his next “down season”.  If it was anything like his last one, we should be in for a treat.



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