Carolina's offense not suited for Newton's strengths
Posted September 14, 2013
Ron Rivera and his coaching staff have a thoroughbred running their offense, but they are using Cam Newton more like a plough horse.
Watching teams like San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington use their quarterbacks as weapon in an offense tailored for their ability is a joy. Watching the Panthers offense so far this year has been painful.
In the words of the great Jim Cornette, fans are getting their feelings hurt watching this.
The Panthers are in for a long season if the preseason and game one of the regular season are any indication of the offense. I know teams like keeping it basic in the preseason so as not to tip their hand and give game film to defensive coordinators around the league, but the film of this offense so far has to be giving defensive coordinators sweet dreams instead of nightmares.
Cam Newton possesses a skill set that few signal callers have: A big arm and the ability to run over or around defenders.
There is the school of thought that the new read-option offense is going to get the most valuable player on the field injured, but the Panthers should not fear for Newton’s safety the way that the Redskins have to with RGIII, Newton is far from brittle.
Newton is a beast. At 6 feet, 5 inches and 245 pounds he will dish out as much punishment as he takes. And the thought of putting him in an up tempo offense to utilize his skills just makes too much sense.
It will also make the weapons around him better. DeAngelo Williams or any of the backs the Panthers trot out on the field would benefit (just see what LeSean McCoy did against Washington).
Steve Smith would get the ball thrown to him so much he might never complain again. Note: I said might.
Instead of being reminded of the limited weapons in the passing game, players like Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. would become threats due to the attention that Smith and Greg Olsen would receive.
And, if used properly, Newton can improv his way to better rushing numbers instead of just turning around and handing the ball to a back.
And, most importantly, the Panthers would actually score points. Isn't that the goal anyway?
If this team keeps trying to make Cam Newton play the position like someone he isn’t, it is hard to see this team getting better. The organization has improved the defense by tailoring schemes to the personnel, but has put its quarterback into a box with an offense not suited for him.
The Panthers would be watchable, not vanilla, and there would be something around this team that there hasn’t been in a while: excitement.
It’s probably too late for coordinator Mike Shula to install a new offense, but if head coach Ron Rivera wants to save his job, it is a risk worth taking.
If not, they will be watching the new coaching staff installing that offense around Newton next year.