All eyes are on Cam Newton in Carolina.Newton is possibly the most polarizing athlete in Charlotte sports history. People seem to love him or hate him, or at least the selection of him with the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft. For the record I wanted the Panthers to select Patrick Peterson but am now on the Cam Newton bandwagon.
I was very impressed with Cam Newton’s performance in the first preseason game, a win over the New York Giants. To be honest I liked what Cam Newton didn’t do in his NFL debut more than what he did do.
Cam Newton did not throw an interception or fumble the ball in his first NFL action. I never saw Newton appear to panic or to be confused. Granted you are not going to see complex defenses in the first preseason game but Newton didn’t get the deer in the headlights look like many rookie quarterbacks do.
Newton’s main criticism has been his accuracy and his longer throws seem more accurate than the short stuff. Accuracy will improve as his passing mechanics do and I eagerly await seeing him play in 2012.
Cam Newton’s progress has been slowed by the NFL lockout which cut out many offseason workouts and 24 practices. A rookie quarterback especially switching from the spread offense to a pro offense needs all the offseason work he can get. I was glad to find out that Cam Newton trained at theIMA Madden Football Academy in the offseason.
Luckily the Carolina Panthers have taken a good approach to the rookie quarterback. They have given him some nice weapons in signing Jeremy Shockey, trading for Greg Olsen and resigning DeAngelo Williams. The fact that Steve Smith is no longer requesting a trade bodes well for Cam Newton as well. Legedu Naanee who knows the offense from playing with the Chargers was added to the Panthers receiving unit as well.
New coach Ron Rivera brought Rob Chudzinski over from San Diegoto be the offensive coordinator. “Chud” was the tight ends coach with the Chargers and also coached Shockey and Olsen at the University of Miami. This offense will stress the tight end on short to intermediate routes and medium to long routes for the wide receivers.
I feel that this is a good offensive system for Cam Newton to be in. Rookie quarterbacks tend to love throwing to the tight end and this offense is already geared towards that. I am not sure that Cam Newton will start the first regular season game as Jimmy Clausen is playing better than last year. But make no mistake Cam Newton will be the starting quarterback at some point for the Carolina Panthers in 2011.