Cam Newton: Polarizing QB Needs Superstar Performance to Save Panthers' Season
Since 1978, only four teams have rebounded from 1-4 to make the postseason. For Carolina to do it, the team's quarterback will need to come back into form.
The Panthers were a preseason trendy pick in the topsy-turvy NFC South, but they have looked nothing like the upstart 6-10 squad from last season. The running game can’t make any holes, while the defense can’t close any.
That leaves Newton to pick up the pieces.
The second-year QB hasn’t been the spark plug that brought the Panthers back into the spotlight last season, though. His last game against Seattle was a career low, as he completed only 41 percent of his passes, including a missed touchdown throw that would’ve won the game.
Steve Smith would be wise to reintroduce himself to Newton. The QB-WR tandem has yet to reach the end zone this season. He has a tough matchup himself on Sunday, though, on the outside against Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.
Who's the Best Young Quarterback in the NFL?
I lit into him because I thought it was an opportunity for him to see and understand what was going on. This is more than about playing football. It's about becoming a man and understanding what this is.
Sitting at 1-4 and facing a matchup with the erratic Dallas Cowboys, the Panthers need wins any way they can get them. However, they won’t get them with Newton’s current numbers: 80 QB rating, four touchdowns and five interceptions in five games.
That said, Newton has had the bye week to defer to his coaches and game-plan 13 days for the Cowboys. And the Panthers should be able to find openings for Newton to take advantage of, either in the passing or running game.
He may be 23 years old, but Newton’s being asked to perform at the level of a 35-year old franchise pillar, say Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. But the Panthers QB will need to learn much more about himself as an NFL quarterback before he makes those strides.
Today would be a good time to start.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow his thoughts on sports and the universe on Twitter @TheRealShiek
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