The Carolina Panthers roll past division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-13, in Week 8. This win makes it three games in a row for the Panthers, bringing them to 4-3, overall. Quarterback Cam Newton has really stepped up as a play maker in these past three weeks for the Panthers.
An issue with Newton early on was his consistency and ability to perform under pressure. At first, Newton struggled with both. However, in the past three weeks, Newton has shown he has the ability to do it all. He can stand tall in the pocket, he can scramble around with his eyes down the field, or he can sneak the ball for positive yards. Newton’s inconsistency was with his accuracy, however he has proven he can be very accurate and deadly.
In the first four games, Newton averaged 58.5 percent completed passes. However, in the last three games, he averaged 79 percent completed passes. That is a huge increase in accuracy. Newton has a cannon for an arm and with precision, he can easily be considered one of the best in the league. He has also shown a lot more trust in all the players around him.
Newton used to try and do it all by making the big play and carrying the team on his shoulders. Now he is playing smarter, spreading the ball around more and checking down to the running back instead of forcing a dangerous long ball. In his first two games, Newton passed the ball to only five or six different players. In this last game against the Buccaneers, Newton gave the ball to nine different players. That shows his confidence in the ability of all his players to make plays.
Another improvement for Newton is his ball security. In the last three games, Newton has thrown six touchdowns and zero interceptions. This stat alone shows Newton has matured as a player and has become a lot smarter. He protects the football and is very accurate.
Newton has also begun to understand the importance of his safety and health. The NFL is a dangerous league for scrambling quarterbacks. All too often, the league has seen quarterbacks go down with massive injuries received while scrambling. Newton’s role on the team is all too crucial for him to be risking his body for only a few extra yards. He still has the speed and power to scramble out of the pocket and hurt defenses. However, he has learned to get down on the ground and slide before getting pummeled by a defensive player. Even so, he still finds ways to make players miss him and turn negative plays into positive yards.
Newton has really taken control of the team and has shown he has what it takes to be a leader. He has played lights-out the past few weeks and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He is really making noise around the league and teams are now considering the Panthers to be a legitimate threat. If he continues to improve and throw with precision, the Panthers will frustrate any opponent and really make a case for a playoff position.