Newton brings new approach to Panthers camp
Posted July 26, 2013
Updated July 27, 2013
A different Cam Newton arrived in Spartanburg for Panthers training camp Thursday.
Gone was the pouting youngster who seemed to take each loss as if it were the end of days - the guy who once reportedly alienated his fellow pro bowlers with his brashness.
Instead, a more upbeat and positive "veteran" Cam Newton rolled into Spartanburg.
And by rolled, I mean literally. Cam brought a Segway to camp, and he plans to make that his preferred means of transportation around Wofford.
It's a light-hearted approach for a guy that needed to lighten his tone in the first place. This was the rookie year Cam - the upbeat guy whose smile drew people in, whose enthusiasm served to motivate those around him.
The Panthers need that from their franchise quarterback.
Newton held court with the media for nearly fifteen minutes as training camp opened. He cracked jokes about his clothing line and his Segway. When one media member admitted to "losing his train of thought" during a question, Newton good-naturedly suggested he had a "talking concussion." A question about looking ahead to end-of-season statistics drew another gem: "You guys are looking through binoculars, I'm looking through glasses."
But what really matters is how his teammates see Newton's new attitude, and so far the reviews are positive.
"I've definitely seen a change (in Cam) from last year to this year," said running back Mike Tolbert. "He's more vocal. He takes more command, as you'd think a franchise quarterback would."
Center Ryan Kalil echoed Tolbert's thoughts. "Experience, that's the biggest thing in this league," he said of Newton. "The more time you have to look back and learn from some of your mistakes and grow - obviously those are some of the things you see happening with a quarterback who's in his third year, and that's something that's exciting for us."
Time will tell if Newton has turned a corner towards a leadership role, but the early polling suggest his psychic effect on the team is trending upward. The Panthers need that, and so does Cam.