Don't blame me. Cam Newton opened the door.
Or the box, as it were.
Newton suggested a few weeks ago that he should bring a container to press conferences into which people could place tips. Being the nice guy that I am, I decided it would be rude if nothing was placed in the box.
So here you go, Cam. Free of charge.
Tip No. 1: Get Rid of the Ball Quickly or Tuck it
Newton hasn't forgotten how to run the ball. He's just forgotten how good he is with the ball in his hands (5.6 ypc).
I understand the desire to turn Newton into a total pocket passer. Yet, it's not a good idea. He needs to be unleashed to play his brand of football if he is going to excel.
Newton averaged about one more rush per game last year than in 2012. This might not seem significant, but there is a tangible difference in a game's outcome when he has more rushing attempts.
For instance, he took off 13 times against the New Orleans Saints, and the Carolina Panthers won the game. He attempted nine carries (second-highest of the season) against the Atlanta Falcons and narrowly missed sparking a massive upset.
So Newton needs to feel free to tuck it if there isn't anything there. Most of his problems (interceptions, poor throws) have been the result of holding onto the ball for too long. Eventually the defense gets to him and he hurries himself into a bad decision.
Which leads us to the next point.
Tip No. 2: Take a Sack Every Now and Then
No, sacks are not positive plays. However, they are much better than interceptions.
Every time you see a poor Newton throw leading to a turnover, he is almost always being dragged down or is under duress. If he would just take the sack, the Panthers would find themselves in more ballgames than they have been to date.
Or he could just throw the ball away, but let's not complicate matters just yet.
Tip No. 3: Forget About It
If you've ever seen a Newton press conference, you've probably noticed that he can get a little emotional. He dwells on his funks and has a general sullen attitude to him when Carolina loses.
That's all fine and dandy from the I-want-to-win perspective. However, if he is getting down during games (his sideline antics have been noted), he isn't focused enough on the next play.
Newton needs to lighten up a bit. That doesn't mean become a slacker. Just let the last pass roll of his back and worry about the next throw.
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