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Joe Ovies

Newton out of sophomore slump

Posted December 10, 2012

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers were written off weeks ago, cast aside in favor of the ongoing exploits of this year's rookie quarterback class and their playoff contending teams. There were only so many ways to dissect the excruciatingly close loses through October and discuss whether or not Newton actually had a future in the league.

The sideline demeanor. The towel on his head. The depressing theatre of his post game comments. The lack of self awareness when busting out the Superman pose. The clothing line. The comparisons to Vince Young. The Pro Bowl diva stories. All of it fair game for pundits who had their "told you so" takes sitting in the drafts folder, waiting for the sheen of Newton's record-breaking debut to fade.

But Newton has settled down in the second half of his sophomore season. It started in Washington with a mistake free performance that resulted in a win. Following a quick reversion against Denver, arguably one of the best teams in the AFC, Newton has strung together his best football in the last four games.

Newton completed over 60% of his passes for 1,077 yards and threw 8 touchdowns during the stretch. He's rushed for almost 300 yards and punched it in 3 times, including an incredible 72-yard rushing touchdown against Atlanta that has been looped on the highlight shows.

No interceptions. No fumbles. No word about the turnaround in last few weeks, which put Newton back on pace to match or exceed his rookie numbers.

Most of that has to do with the lost season in Charlotte. The Panthers were supposed to contend for a playoff spot, but that ship sailed long ago. While there is optimism for a strong finish, it's still a flawed Panthers squad with a nasty habit of allowing teams hang around. Even the most optimistic finish of 7-9 likely results in the dismissal of head coach Ron Rivera.

The bottom line -- Carolina's problems cannot be laid at the feet of an individual. That's difficult to process given the current quarterback culture of the NFL and Newton's slow maturation process. So let's throw in a little equal time when Newton answers the critics with his performance.

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  • Packman24 Dec 14, 3:07 p.m.

    One good game and he's out of the slump? I don't think so.

    Scam's only position will be tight... View More

    — Posted by Obamacare lives on

    But I bet he can read and understand what he reads unlike you, but then again most 8th graders... View More

    — Posted by rherring23

    Thank you! Haters gone hate. Go Panthers!

  • ecuscore Dec 12, 4:49 p.m.

    It breaks my heart to see the team I've cheered for since they played at Clemson have such an irresponsible, unappreciative and super talented player as their frontman. The Superman pose not only makes Cam look bad, it makes the whole team and city look bad. Someone please tell him to grow up "act like he's been there before"!!!!

  • BattlingBishop 5 Dec 11, 10:34 p.m.

    Its ok for Ryan to talk trash because he was pushed to do so. Ok, I get it. SMH!! I guess... View More

    — Posted by Toddler10-21

    Of course it is because that's generally not his style. If Ryan was getting Panther lip for 4 quarters, and I'm willing to bet he was, I don't blame him at all, especially given the way the Panthers have been playing as a team this season. Anybody who follows football knows that was out of character for Ryan. Judging from what I've seen of the Panthers, they really shouldn't be giving lip service to any team at this point.

    If I were going to pay to watch one team, I'd watch the Patriots. They play to win every game & they're a professional organization. Like their demeanor as they expect to win while other teams expect to....entertain. Brady may be the best ever & Welker has led the NFL in receptions since 2007. Two of my favs because they act like they've done it before. Nice team to watch.

  • rherring23 Dec 11, 8:59 p.m.

    One good game and he's out of the slump? I don't think so.

    Scam's only position will be tight... View More

    — Posted by Obamacare lives on

    But I bet he can read and understand what he reads unlike you, but then again most 8th graders could read this article and understand it. You statement about 1 good game really shows your intelligence, or I should say lack of. The article clearly states in a 4 game span. But then again people looking for reasons to hate somebody usually aren't intelligent enough to understand anything that they read.

  • blueduke4 Dec 11, 1:42 p.m.

    Cam will be just fine. Still a young man and has plenty time to continue to develop his craft. I foresee him becoming one of the best if he can put it all together.

  • hi_i_am_wade Dec 11, 1:41 p.m.

    Newton out of sophomore slump? They won a game, big deal. Newton is not in a slump he is just an... View More

    — Posted by iron fist

    0 turnovers the last several games shows he is out of the Sophomore slump.

    However, let us not kid ourselves: Atlanta peaked early and is now declining at the wrong time. They are not as good as their record indicates. I would be surprised if they won a playoff game this year. And let us not kid ourselves: The Panther offense is first, second, and third about Cam. They have no balance. It has helped him mature, but the team will never be good unless they start running the ball with success.

  • Gunnstigator Dec 11, 8:00 a.m.

    Winning late season games when you didn't win very many in the first of the season doesn't... View More

    — Posted by gwnunn

    Good point! If the Panthers, as a team, went about their business the way Luke does, they would... View More

    — Posted by BattlingBishop 5

    I agree that Kuechley is a class act, and I wish there were more pro athletes with his demeanor. The Panthers do have a lot of good guys who bring their lunchpail to work everyday. Cam is a polarizing figure and some people judge the entire Panthers team by Cam's actions because he is the face of the Team. Players like Jordan Gross, Jon Beason, Ryan Kahlil, Greg Olsen, and others are the reason I'll continue to pull for the Panthers despite their W-L record.

  • Toddler10-21 Dec 11, 7:46 a.m.

    Its ok for Ryan to talk trash because he was pushed to do so. Ok, I get it. SMH!! I guess Kuechley wasnt talking trash. Wow you guys are so bias!

  • BattlingBishop 5 Dec 11, 6:27 a.m.

    Winning late season games when you didn't win very many in the first of the season doesn't... View More

    — Posted by gwnunn

    Good point! If the Panthers, as a team, went about their business the way Luke does, they would be an easy team to pull for. I don't care for the showboating to begin with, much less when they are 5 games under .500...hate it that fans get duped by the hype. Wish the average fan understood things a little better than they do. If they did, the expectations would be much higher & they wouldn't settle for some of the garbage we see on the field.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Dec 11, 6:20 a.m.

    ^Are we to believe that the Panthers never said a word in Atlanta? LOL Something tells me the Panthers were chirping @ Ryan & he took a shot after the game. Seems out of character for Ryan. It's really a load for the Panthers to pretend that they were angry over Ryan's comments given the amount of chirping that occurs every game. I've never known Ryan to to be a talker....would like to hear his side.

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