Cam Newton Midseason Report: Carolina Panthers Rookie and His Mistakes

Joye PruittSenior Analyst INovember 4, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 30: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers passes against the Minnesota Vikings at Bank of America Stadium on October 30, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Ahhh. Take in the air and relieve the mind. After an offseason filled with cancelled minicamps, a gun-toting James Harrison and finally the celebration of a 16-game NFL season, we finally made it to the half season mark.

The Carolina Panthers cross into their bye week with a promising 2-6 record. You could ask what is promising about their 2-6 record but you would just be exposing how much you have not been paying attention. Shame.

It is time for evaluation as if we all have not been analyzing every move this organization has been making since the preseason. Even the starting QB controversy that was not truly a controversy, between Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen was news worthy. It is all fitting well into Newton’s plan of being an entertainer and an icon.

By the way, the kid does not mind being a good quarterback either.

Still, we cannot pretend that he has not had his fair share of blunders and bloopers. Here are just a few to remind you of why he still has so much to learn.

Cam Newton may have forgotten that Charles Woodson won a Heisman too. In Cam Newton’s second start against the Green Bay Packers, after losing to the Arizona Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers were expected to keel over.

Green Bay’s secondary may be getting a sloping reputation. However, against a rookie starter and a squad valued at only two wins in the previous season, the returning Super Bowl champs would shut out Carolina quick, fast and with no remorse.

Newton’s thinking was “Not so fast”, but obviously he forgot that poking a sleeping bear may not be the smartest thing in a game you are not scripted to win in the first place.

It is great for the rookie to take chances. It is just not smart when those chances include throwing in Woodson’s direction every other play. Woodson will get his hand on the ball one way or another. That another just happened to be an interception.

Newton vs. Allen: A battle that Cam would soon find out was a losing one. Jared Allen is coming across as the defensive player of the year this season. The Minnesota Vikings may not be the most successful team in the league right now. Yet, Allen always manages to make one or two standout plays in the game to change the tempo in Minnesota’s direction.

Cam Newton usually has decent ball control. Decent is not going to cut it in the professional league against hungry sack machines like Jared Allen. Newton’s arm may have attempted to propel the ball forward, but Allen’s body changed that immediately.

It happens to everyone more than once. Newton should be more aware, even if it is of a man barreling into his body from his blind side.

Corey Peters’ one-hand screen pass interception. There are a few things that rookies, including Cam Newton, need to learn coming into the league. One of them is that they have the option of throwing the ball away when the play that was called ultimately breaks down.

When Peters recognized the play he immediately redirected and the pressure from the outside blitz forced Newton to make a hasty decision. The biggest problem with this play is that Newton had predetermined the path of the ball and refused to adjust when the lane was closed. 

Sometimes he has so much faith in his arm strength and accuracy that he will attempt plays like these. Expect mistakes like these from him when there is not that much time left in the fourth and the Panthers are just a pinch behind. Newton tries to win the game when his philosophy should simply be live to play another down.

These three mistakes are the prime representations as to why Cam Newton is not yet an elite quarterback. However, all of them can be restructured and built upon. This is his first year and his biggest mistakes are those in which the men that we do call elite make as well.

Newton’s on a fast pace upward. If only the rest of his time, defensively, could say the same.