Cam Newton's Confidence Was 'Shook' Last Season, Says Ron Rivera

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 29, 2017

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 01: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers warms up on the sideline during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 17-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton never seems to lack confidence on the football field, but the struggles from a disappointing 6-10 season in 2016 did take a toll on the former NFL MVP. 

Per ESPN's David Newton, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Newton was shaken last year:

He's going to have to rebuild his confidence. It was shook. Let's be honest. I'm not going to lie about that. The young man went through a tough time and we went through a tough time.

Why? Because of the injuries we incurred on the offensive line. That was probably the biggest thing. It just kind of shows the importance and significance of protecting your quarterback.

Coming off the best year of his career in 2015, when Newton led the Panthers to an appearance in the Super Bowl and set career highs in touchdown passes (35) and quarterback rating (99.4), things fell apart last season. 

Cam Newton 2016 Stats
StatWorst Since
52.9 Completion PercentageEver
19 TD Passes2014
14 Interceptions2011
75.8 Quarterback RatingEver
53.1 QBREver
90 Rushing AttemptsEver
359 Rushing YardsEver
4.0 Yards Per AttemptEver
Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Rivera also mentioned one reason for Newton's shaky confidence last season was because he didn't feel like officials were fair with their lack of calls for questionable hits on him. 

"That had a lot to do with it, he said. "When you go through the situations we've gone through and had the difficulties we've had, it's tough. We as a football team have to make sure we put the right types of players in position."

Newton's 2017 has already gotten off to a rough start, as the Panthers announced he will undergo surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff on March 30 with the goal of having him ready to go when training camp begins. 

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Rivera told NFL Network's Judy Battista (via NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman) he expects Newton to be ready for the Panthers' in Week 1 "without a doubt."

The Panthers are trying to piece things back together after finishing under .500 last season. Newton will certainly be the focal point of everything Carolina wants to do on offense because of his dual-threat ability that worked so well in 2015. 

At 27 years old, Newton will hopefully regain his confidence and have many productive years in the seasons ahead.