Cam Newton has carried this offense but must translate that to consistency in 2013, at least that’s how I translate recent comments from the Carolina Panthers front office. The skills he’s displayed at the NFL level make it crazy for anyone to cut ties, but it’s all right to expect this week in and week out at a little more reliable level from your franchise quarterback.
“Cam has had the best two years of any rookie quarterback in NFL history. And everybody talks about the other young [quarterbacks],” new Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said, via the Charlotte Observer. “What he’s done has been completely lost in the sauce because of the elephant in the room – the 13-19 record. … Yes, he is. But now it’s time to win.”
If you’ve read many of my articles before, you may or may not agree on my laughing at simplifying a quarterback’s performance during the first two years of his career to a win-loss record. Truly making numbers into something misleading. Drew Brees‘ first two seasons amounted to 10-17. Peyton Manning‘s amounted to 16-16. Those W-L “stats” are far from everything, but I also understand the desire for the franchise’s step forward in 2012. I assume Coach Ron Rivera‘s job depends on it in year three, but I doubt Newton’s does.
Newton bounced back from the career-destroying sophomore slump (that I’ve broken down), now it’s time for him to continue his momentum — 11 touchdowns and two interceptions over the final seven games — into a critical third year for everyone involved. Newton may be safe, in my opinion, based on his gifts and the inferior receiving talent outside an aging Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen, but combining those efficient passing numbers with his rushing totals could keep Carolina in the playoff hunt in 2013.