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Ken Medlin

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.

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  • Ramageddon Jul 28, 2013

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    Yep, what I was lamenting about. They are going to double Smith, put a really good cover on Olsen and make the unknowns beat you. Jerry Richardson let this team slide so far and they have not had a good tandem of WRs since they let Moose go way back. Kuechly is hands down one of the best 1st rounds picks ever for them. Considering what he has done as a Rookie and the fact he stayed healthy, bodes well for the D. I'm thinking they will either have to make a big free agent signing next year or just get as lucky at WR as they did with Kuechly. Lot of great WRs coming out this year.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 27, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Agree with ya & good point about the D-line. You have to be rock solid in the trenches. It all starts with the "big boys". I wondered about Cam when he came out of Auburn but Cam can play & he's proven it. With Cam on offense & Luke on D, both very good young players, there is no reason they can't build around those 2 players. When Beason is healthy, he's one of the best but injuries are taking their toll. Smith & Olsen can still get it done. If the Panthers get off to a good start, they're gonna be hard to deal with. Early success/momentum is everything in sports...sets the tone for the season, IMO.

  • StunGunn Jul 27, 2013

    Can't eidt, Wanted to add that I totally agree about Hurney (glad he's gone)and Gettleman (glad he's there!).

  • StunGunn Jul 27, 2013

    View quoted thread



    I respect what you wrote, Dub, but I wouldn't call #89 "mediocre". He may be in the twilight of his career, but Smitty is as tough as they come, and he's still an above average wide-out IMHO. He did drop a few passes last season that were out of character, but I still think Smitty is a very good player. Ditto Greg Olsen. Again, not in his prime, but still a very good player. Better than average.

  • Dubble EE Jul 27, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Agreed. I really like the new GM. (Gettleman....I think). He is building the team the right way....defensive line first and then progress back from the line, unless you can draft a LB or DB talent that's too good to pass up. It's a smart way to build a team.

    And....let's not forget that the Panthers don't have one receiver on the team that would get at least half of a max contract on the open market. Not even Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder would touch any of those WR's. Cam is throwing to mediocre talent at best.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/13994/cam-newton

  • Dubble EE Jul 27, 2013

    View quoted thread

    See....I disagree with that as well. Cam came from the SEC....where winning is an attitude. Put that team on his back and carried them en route to a 13-0 National Championship season. Won a national championship at Blinn (who heard of them before that?) Then he comes to an NFL team that had zero leadership from the top down. And oh yeah....passing money out in huge contracts to less deserving players on the team by Marty Hurney because they were his friends. How do you think that would effect a locker room atmosphere. I know it would bother me. You see the GM handing out new contracts to guys who don't even touch the field a 3rd of the season. And how does Marty Hurney....a journalist by trade who got in good with the front office and schmoozed his way in....get that job to start with? Perfect example of leadership from ownership down. The locker room and attitude of the team was screwed up way before Cam go there...IMO. But funny how the team was quick to let the blame slide to him as soon as he got there. Notice that? So off the rip Cam is supposed to fix all that? I disagree.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 27, 2013

    ^Couldn't edit...meant to say the Panthers pass D needs to improve. Hardy & Johnson look good.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 27, 2013

    View quoted thread



    I was reading a Panther preview & they made some moves to improve their secondary/defense. They have all 11 starters back on offense, adding Ted Ginn Jr. & Domenik Hixon should help.

    Saw where they signed some veterans in the secondary, which should be an improvement based on what I read. Appears Shula will try & keep Newton in the pocket more but they have to get their running game going.

    Regarding Kuechly - just put him on the field & he'll make it happen. He's a gamer with a high football IQ. I'd be surprised if Beason can stay healthy at this point in his career. Hardy & Johnson look good on the ends but their pass D has to get better.

  • Dubble EE Jul 27, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Exactly.

  • StunGunn Jul 27, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Your second sentence is exactly what I was alluding to: Cam shouldn't be the leading rusher on the team. It looks like the injury bug is already biting the Panthers. Jonathan Stewart is in the PUP list as is Beason. I sure hope Beason can get healthy fast - he has missed too many games the past two seasons.

    Beating Seattle will be a tough task, but it can be accomplished. The Panthers were in most of their games last year, but they lost just about all the close ones. A bounce here or there and their record would have been a lot better. If they were that close last year, I'm hoping they win those close games this year. Agree about their D. Glad they have Kuechly - that guy is a gem!

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