Cam Newton's Struggles Show Panthers Should Add Veteran Role Model as Backup QB

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IOctober 12, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 07:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

They say he needs a sports psychologist. Others claim he needs someone to fine tune his decision-making. But really, the way to relieve Cam Newton's anguish may be much more simple and conventional—acquiring a veteran backup quarterback. 

A role model, if you will.

When you're as visibly talented as Newton is and you silenced critics with a historic 35-touchdown rookie season, expectations are bound to be heightened when your sophomore year begins. 

Through five games, the Panthers are 1-4 and the supposedly transcendent quarterback is completing 58 percent of his passes with just four touchdown passes and five interceptions. He has accounted for 272.6 total yards per game. 

Not terrible, right? 

Well, compared to last year, the regression is rather noticeable. 

In his marvelous Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, Newton completed 60 percent of his passes, threw 21 touchdowns against 17 interceptions and accounted for 297 yards per game. 

Right now, he's on pace to throw for fewer yards and account for nearly 13 fewer touchdowns.  As for his Panthers, well, they're on pace for four or five wins—a decrease from last season's six. 

Newton's been profiled from just about every angle by everyone with an opinion—from the crazed Panthers bloggers to the most esteemed sports columnists. 

Sure, his psyche needs improvement. He can't be as overtly saddened as he has been in defeat—it's not the persona of leaders. 

And yes, he can be more careful with the football while tailoring his game to counter what opposing defenses are now doing to limit his production. But maybe he just needs a mentor. 

Think about it. 

Newton was the No. 1 overall pick as a bright-eyed, wide-smiled 22-year-old, a kid who hadn't lost a football game in years. He was always the fastest, most athletic playmaker on the field, and endorsers couldn't sign him fast enough.  

When you think about his past, coupled with the circumstances that Newton stepped into as the immediate franchise savior for a rebuilding Carolina Panthers organization, the way he's reacted to individual and team struggles really shouldn't surprise anyone. 

Although he's the distinct leader for Carolina at the game's most important position, isn't Newton a prime candidate for a mentor?

No, Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clausen aren't viable candidates.

Newton needs a guy who navigated the choppy waters of being a starting NFL quarterback and more often than not, emerged as a success story. You know, a guy that's willing to teach Newton the intricacies of not only playing quarterback but how to live daily life as a quarterback.

Someone Cam can look to for guidance—a role model.