After losing his job because of the lack of consistency at the quarterback position, John Fox lost his position as Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers. I don’t know that new Carolina Coach Ron Rivera will last as long in Charlotte as Coach Fox did, but I think he dealt himself a bad hand drafting Cam Newton number one. I will not argue some of Newton’s intangibles especially his size and speed and I will not argue his junior college success along with his guiding Auburn to the national championship last year. What I will argue is that Carolina didn’t need another quarterback on their roster. Carolina has two young quarterbacks already on the roster. Matt Moore did well enough two seasons ago to get the nod last season and yet the Panthers drafted Jimmy Claussen and Tony Pike. When Moore stumbled due to lack of any cohesive offensive plan, injuries and double teaming of Steve Smith, no tight end etc., etc., they threw young Claussen into the mix and called plays for him to one side of the field. Not a winning format.
Claussen, Moore and Pike all played in pro offenses in college and Claussen and Moore combined last year for just over 2400 yards. I don’t see how Cam Newton helps this picture. He didn’t play in a pro offense in college, played just one year of Division I football and last year had the same number of games where his rushing attempts exceeded twenty and his passing attempts exceeded twenty. He also had games where his passing attempt totals were only 14,14, 14, 15,16, and 19. The SEC is good but it isn’t the NFL, and if he has a lot of rushing attempts it will be because he is running for his life.
There is no doubt that he has tremendous potential. There is no mistaking that but the 2010 Carolina Panthers won two games with the 18th ranked defense in the NFL. That directly implies they need to upgrade their offense but they are and have always been a running team. Yes, that helps Newton but it helps a quarterback with NFL experience more. They will never out score the Saints or Falcons now and with Josh Freeman coming into his own in Tampa Bay, they will be hard-pressed to keep pace with these teams. They need to shut them down, run the ball, run the clock, and score in the Red Zone. They gave up an average of 27.1 yards a game last year within their division and so that to me should have been the focus along with the offensive line. To their defense, they did address those but they could have traded out and gotten a lot of picks for the next couple of years and really built some offensive talent. The extra picks would help them build while either Claussen, Moore or Pike emerges as the guy. If Newton doesn’t work out they are set back for 3-5 years. You have to win the division first to even get to the playoffs. Newton is years from helping that cause and if he is a project I would have chosen more picks instead.
I wish Cam Newton well and I will be cheering him on this season. Not only does he have to play three powerful teams within division, this year the NFC South plays the AFC South and the NFC North. Hello Bears, Colts, Jags, Vikings and Green Bay. I hope that Jeremy Shockey stays healthy all year-Cam is going to need him.