Cam Newton may be off to a fantastic start to his career, statistically speaking. Everyone is raving about the rookie and the Newton bandwagon is currently adding more seats as we speak. No longer do the experts, media and fans come firing at Newton with questions about his character, accuracy issues and overall ability to make NFL throws consistently.
No, those days are gone. Instead the tune has switched 100 percent to a love fest for the Carolina Panthers rookie. Whenever the Panthers are being talked about it is always a result of Newton.
Media outlets are giving Carolina coverage like the franchise has never witnessed before. The funny thing about it is that the Panthers are currently 1-3, and despite being competitive, still have a long ways to go before being a playoff contender.
Nevertheless, Newton has reinvigorated a fan base, and rightfully so, but the continued success of the quarterback will come down to one thing: the film room.
When you possess the physical tools like Newton has it would be easy to blow off late night study session and put less focus on studying tape. It would be easy to rely on your physical skills more than your brain. But the NFL isn't all about who's the strongest. Often times it is about who is the smartest, just ask Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, who both put in countless of hours watching film.
I can't honestly say whether or not Newton is or isn't taking film sessions seriously. Judging by his play one would be inclined to say that the former Heisman trophy winner has put in the effort leading up to game day.
But the bottom line in the NFL is about winning games. Defenses are going to adjust to Newton and figure out his tendencies, which will ultimately test his preparation down the road. The true test for him will be against division opponents when they meet for a second time.
Right now, it's very possible that Newton's success is from an inability of opposing coaches to fully understand how to play the rookie until it's too late. The book going into the Chicago game was to sit back in coverage and force him to be patient and fit the ball into tight spaces.
Well, Newton was able to do that fairly easily this past Sunday. Where he struggled was near the end of the game when the Bears committed to blitzing on nearly every down, forcing him to make tough throws under pressure.
How he adjusts to the adjustments defenses make against him will ultimately determine his long term success. If Newton is going to continue to grow as a player it's not just going to be on the football field. It will be in the film room, where he will become familiar with how defenses want to play him and how he should react to what they are doing to him.
Through four games one thing is clear: Newton can flat out play. Now comes the real test, and that is can he sustain it?