It’s Cam Newton against Cameron NewtonOctober 24th, 2012 at 1:19 pm by jessiemiller under FOX10 Sports
We have seen it before, the elite rookie NFL quarterback defying all statistical odds, winning on and off the field with rookie of the year honors, pro bowl invitations, and lucrative endorsements. The Sophomore season turns into the second year slump, and it is less than impressive. The athlete’s rookie accomplishments are in question leaving fans, teammates, and franchises wanting more.
Cam Newton, to many, is now falling into this same slump. The Carolina Panthers quarterback is leading his team to another losing season, (1-5), which is the worst in the NFC. This is after Newton vowed to carry the team on his back and take the franchise into its glory years. Newton is clearly feeling the pressure after not walking the walk.
The outrage surrounding Newton does not stem from a lackadaisical attitude on the field or in practice. Nor does it stem from Newton’s lack of overall talent or will to win . There is an outrage because of Newton’s attitude, lack of leadership and his inability to hold himself together mentally. Need examples? What about sideline pouting, showing disrespect toward the media or not speaking with the media at all, rushing to the locker room after losses, or unsportsmanlike conduct? The Panthers’ horrible offensive play, have added fuel to critics’ fires.
Last season, a confused Drew Brees was spotted on the field, post-game, looking for Newton; allegedly to shake his hand in a sign of good sportsmanship after the game. Unfortunately for Brees, Newton had already left the field and headed into the locker room to pout over the Panthers’ home loss to the Saints. Ironically, this season, the Panthers’ sole win is a 35-27 home victory over the New Orleans Saints.
After a gut wrenching 19-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Newton’s level of frustration and judgement was exposed, when Newton referred to a female sportswriter as, “sweetheart” while attempting to answer her question about the game’s results. Newton also told media during the same press conference that he would put out a “suggestion box” in hopes that someone will give ideas on how the Panthers can improve offensively and win games.
Earlier in the season, The Charlotte Observer mocked Newton in an editorial cartoon by depicting Newton in his famed ”Superman” touchdown pose, but not with an “S” on his chest, but a “Hello Kitty” drawing instead. The Cartoon came just after the Panthers’ loss to the N.Y. Giants. It was a game in which Newton was widely criticized for his inappropriate “Superman” celebration following a rushing touchdown in the third quarter. The problem with the celebration was that the Carolina Panthers were down 23-7, a comfortable lead for Manning and the Giants, since they dominated the entire game. Eventually there would be no more touchdown celebrations, and the Panthers were routed 35-7. Newton’s stats were equally unimpressive, as he went 16-of-30 for 242 yards and three interceptions.
After the loss, Newton was spotted pouting on the sidelines to the disdain of his teammates. Later, according to The Charlotte Observer, an outspoken Steve Smith scolded the sophomore QB, saying; “I told him, ”You can get some mental reps or you can sit on that bench and sulk”. -Charlotte Observer. Newton has also been accused by other teammates of adding negative energy to the huddle.
The Panthers’ loss to the Cowboys was the fourth time of six games this season, that Newton led his team in rushing. despite a trio of overpaid, unproductive running backs including Williams, Stewart, and Tolbert. Newton is the quarterback and the leader of that team. He is required to display leadership, poise, professionalism, humility, and most importantly mental strength.
Ultimately, Cameron Newton is a winner who lacks the mental capacity to deal with losing. He is mentally broken at this point and doesn’t understand why what worked last year, is not working this year. He is on a downhill path of mental destruction. Obviously, I don’t have access to his “suggestion box”, but if I did, I would tell him that the changes need to begin with himself, and what worked last year will never work this year because opposing NFL coordinators have his number. The time has come in which Newton must re-evaluate his game plan by identifying coverage patterns and schemes, and adjust his game plan accordingly. Now, may also be the time for Newton to embrace the idea of a mind coach, the idea he so vehemently denied in September, if not for the sake of his NFL career, but to save himself, from himself.
Note: Photo Courtesy of (Chuck Burton/AP)