Few seem to remember that it was only a couple seasons ago when the Carolina Panthers boasted one of the best records in the NFL and were on the verge of making a deep playoff run.
Then began Jake Delhomme's collapse and unceremonious exit from Carolina. With a then-failed Jimmy Clausen experiment, the Panthers hired a new coach, Ron Rivera, and drafted Cam Newton first overall, placing their hopes in the young quarterback's hands.
So far, so good.
Yes, it has only been one game, but over 400 yards for a rookie is a tough accident to happen. Few doubted Newton's talent and—as he seemed to struggle in the preseason—some players show up on game day when it matters.
Yes, it was against the Cardinals defense, but regardless, it shows the incredible talent and potential of the young Cam Newton.
This Panthers team is greatly underrated; it is still incredibly talented in many ways. Their defense is solid all around, with the defensive line being perhaps the lone weakness. Their offense still boasts the duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. And Steve Smith and Jeremy Shockey are still very serviceable players. They also have a relatively solid offensive line.
Cam Newton is the real deal, and all doubters were proven wrong. Rivera was wise to pick him. This team is ready to make a lot of noise.