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Some are calling Cam Newton's first four games this season the start of a sophomore slump, but the numbers don't suggest that notion.
A season ago, when Newton lit the NFL world on fire, he completed 60 percent of his passes for 4,051 yards and a passer rating of 84.5. This season, Newton is on pace for a 63.6 completion percentage, 4,052 yards and a passer rating of 87.5.
Even the rushing is close, with Newton on pace for 668 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 706 and 14 his rookie season.
Expectations are what separate 2011 from 2012.
The jump most expected out of Newton simply hasn't happened. For better or worse, he's still the same quarterback he was a year ago: an elite physical and arm talent, who makes some questionable decisions each week but also wows everyone in attendance a handful of times a game. That was Cam in Year 1, and it's still Cam in Year 2.
And the Panthers are mostly the same team, again starting off 1-3.
The sulking on the sidelines is nothing more than a side issue here, one that has been blown out of proportion by the media. The real reason Newton is taking heat in 2012 is because the improvement from both a personal and team standpoint hasn't been visible so far this season.