Bells and Whistles

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Looking great in Under Armour from head to toe, built exquisitely, with a tall, strong frame (6’5”-245 pounds) and possessing the arm to make any NFL throw, Cam Newton fits the definition of what you want a 21st century NFL QB to look like. Leading the Auburn Tigers to a National Championship showed he has enough in the tank to be a leader. All his measurable bells and whistles of our test drive back in February proved he is an elite athlete (4.59 40 yard dash, 35 1/2 inch vertical, 10 1/2 foot broad jump). Now the time has come to see if the Carolina Panthers multi-million dollar purchase is worth the price tag.

I promise you that I am no NFL scout but could probably evaluate players better than Al Davis and his stopwatch. Either way, armed with 20/20 vision (thanks LASIK) and a DVR (thanks technology) set to the NFL Network here’s what I came away with in Cam Newton’s 3rd start of the 2011 preseason:

-I know I am not reinventing the wheel when I say that Cam Newton is inaccurate. His first 2 throws were with the pocket collapsing right in front of him and Newton attempting to make the throw while not setting his feet. This led to incompletions that were not close to their intended target. The 1st drive did end with a 16 yard TD run in which Cam showed how big, fast and physical he could be but also could have gotten himself killed when he turned his back after contact attempting to thrust into the endzone.

-Most of the first half was much of the same inconstant passing mixed with a few good runs until the 1:23 mark of the 2nd quarter. Cam Newton calmly walked up to the line after a timeout, lined up under the right guard, DeAngelo Williams reminded him you take the ball from the center in the NFL,  Newton moved under center and proceeded to throw his prettiest ball of the night to TE, Greg Olsen (fantasy sleeper alert). The throw was placed in the perfect spot where Olsen could out jump the defender to make the catch.

-I wish I could give more anlysis but the 2nd half was more of the same. Cam was heavily pressured, scrambled out, then either threw a highly inaccurate pass or ran for a moderate gain. Newton  appeared most comfortable dumping the ball off to his tight ends or when he was put into college style formations/plays (not being under center/sprint outs). He also had a small jump in some of his throws which obviously needs to be corrected. As a blueprint to future success Cam should look to his last throw of the game. Out of the Shotgun Cam stood tall, with pressure in his face, delivered a strong, accurate throw. However, the play was called back due to an offensive holding call.

Cam Newton finished the day without setting the world on fire. He went 6 of 19 for 75 yards while also rushing the ball 4 times for 49 yards and a TD (briefly described above). Not exactly numbers that distinguished himself from Jimmy Clausen (4 for 7-35 yards). Moving forward however, it sounds like the Panthers are going to get some miles on his tires by throwing Mr. Newton behind the wheel of the Panthers offense to start the 2011 NFL season.