Cam Newton can throw, run and is a freak of an athlete. Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 248 pounds, last year's Heisman trophy winner is a load to handle, especially in the red zone.
The Carolina Panthers' rookie quarterback has proved the doubters wrong, pushed aside the haters and revitalized an organization. Newton's early success throwing the football is something that not many could have predicted.
There were those that felt he would one day put it together but not this fast, yet he has shown continued progression each week and has solidified himself as one of the game's most exciting players. It's hard not to enjoy watching Newton play, as he is so smooth running the football and has a cannon for an arm.
He has the potential to be a great quarterback in the future and the ability to be the best red zone quarterback to ever play the game. Let's take a look at why No. 1 will be No. 1 when we talk about quarterbacks who excelled inside the opponents 20-yard line years from now.
Ability to pass and run
You never know what you're going to get from the Panthers when they are near the goal line anymore. Will it be a Newton run, a hand off to the running back or a pass play? Offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinski has endless possibilities when his offense makes their way into the red zone.
Against the Washington Redskins, the Panthers scored three touchdowns in five trips to the red zone. All of the three touchdowns came by different means, too.
The first was a 16-yard designed run by Newton in which he took the snap out of the shotgun, faked to the running back and then scampered off to the left and into the end zone.
Near the goal line later in the game the same formation was used but this time instead of keeping it himself, Newton handed it off to Jonathan Stewart who ran it in for the score.
Carolina's third touchdown came out of the shotgun formation again, although this time it wasn't a run. Instead Newton passed to wide receiver Brandon LaFell for a two-yard touchdown reception.
The diversity in the Panthers' attack against the Redskins was on full display. It is Newton's rare blend of size, speed and strength that gives the Panthers the option of having a versatile attack, though. Without No. 1 none of this would be possible.
What separates the good from the great is the ability to improvise when a play breaks down. Newton has this skill due to his ability to scramble.
Many compared the rookie to Ben Roethlisberger and Josh Freeman coming out of college because of their ability escape pressure when a play goes to hell and then somehow create magical plays. Through seven games the comparisons have proved to be very true.
This skill is something that will be vital to Newton's career as the years go by. Breaking free from a defender that is draped over you and finding a way to advance the ball is a skill that is undervalued in the NFL.
Newton possesses the ability to escape out of the pocket in the most dire of situations, which makes him even more dangerous in the red zone.
Seven games may not be enough to form a permanent judgment on a quarterback, but in the case of Newton it's his poise in the pocket that makes me feel he is going to go down as an all-time great. Great quarterbacks succeed in the red zone.
Newton is going to be great.
His combination of size, speed and strength will allow him to go down as the greatest quarterback in the red zone of all time. And having a killer arm doesn't hurt either.