Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton Will Have His Best Season as a Pro in 2013

By Ryan Heckman


Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton’s first two years in the NFLhave been nothing short of impressive. Having thrown for a combined 7,920 yards, tossed 40 touchdown passes, ran for 22 scores and boasting a rating of 85.3 Newton is on his way to stardom with the Carolina Panthers.

So, what will he do to follow up his first two successful seasons? Well, if all indications are correct, he will continue on the path he’s headed toward — a versatile and efficient quarterback.

While many believed last season was worse than his rookie year, I beg to differ. Newton turned the ball over less and finished with a higher rating in 2012 than he did in his first season.

The biggest reason people seem to think he ‘fell off’ after his first year is because he only ran for eight touchdowns as opposed to his 14 in 2011. However, in 2012 he averaged more yards per rush also.

I look at that as Newton being a smarter quarterback, not to mention the loaded backfield in Carolina. Head coach Ron Rivera absolutely wants his running backs taking most of the work load and for Newton to be as smart as possible with where and when he tucks the ball and runs.

In 2013, Newton will have both Steve Smith and up-and-coming wideout Brandon LaFell to work with. Smith’s production cannot be denied and he will continue to produce even at his age. LaFell, on the other hand, could be due for a breakout year due to Newton’s continued growth.

With the receiving corps and a talented tight end like Greg Olsen and Newton’s continued ability to get him involved — 69 catches last year as opposed to 45 in 2011 — I see him running the offense better than ever in 2013. The weapons are there. It’s up to Newton to continue his development and learn to stay consistent in his efficiency on the field.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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