Cam Newton: Why Incredible Passing Yard Totals Aren't Telling the Whole Story

RM HeroldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2011

Cam Newton has thrown for over 400 yards in his first two starts in the NFL after winning the Heisman Trophy and the BCS National Championship last year.

He also ran for a touchdown and over 50 yards on the ground against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

There are two schools of thought about his performances after this small sampling of two games.

Either (1) he is the truth and on his way to one of the best rookie quarterback seasons of all time or (2) the team is 0-2 and his four interceptions should be taken into consideration as to why the team is behind for much of the time, requiring him to pass for so many yards.

But before you go too hard on Newton, consider this: The Panthers had a total of 71 yards rushing against the Packers for the entire game. Now, subtract Cam's rushes and the team got 18 total rushing yards from their two starting running backs. So, suffice it to say, Newton isn't getting much help on the ground.

Nor is the defense exactly stopping anyone.

Aaron Rodgers threw for over 300 yards, but also had over 100 yards rushing from his backs. So, yes, a balanced attack makes a big difference.

Coming out of college, Newton was compared by several experts to Tim Tebow, which made sense. They both were Heisman Trophy winners that were unstoppable forces in college, as well as first-round picks.


But most of the comparisons should stop there, as long time NFL coach and now TV analyst Bill Cowher pointed out before the season started:

"I think he’s a prospect. I think he’s got more coming out than Tim Tebow does, I will say that. I think he’s a better athlete, faster,” Bill Cowher said. “I think he needs to play quarterback, but I think it’s a big step. He’s only been there for a year, I think he’s got a lot of inexperience in the game. I think he can play in the National Football League if he’s in the right situation and I think it’s going to take a little bit of time."

We'll assume by "time," Cowher meant at least until the season starts.

Most people were surprised by Newton's 400-yard game last week, but a few more of those and maybe we'll have to say that Newton's rookie mistakes aren't that bad and that maybe the defense and running game are what is keeping this team from getting better.

Maybe Cam Newton, the best college player in the land last year and the National Championship-winning signal-caller, is actually underrated.