Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been the subject of much criticism over the past few weeks as the Panthers have continued to struggle on the field. Newton has been handling the losses poorly and concern about his lack of maturity has dominated discussion.
Are the criticisms of Newton legit? If you ask his mentor and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, they are but there could be an ulterior motive.
“Cam’s an emotional player. He needs to learn to saddle that. If I was to talk to him – and I need to give him a call – I would tell him his demeanor’s got to change in the face of adversity,” Moon said during an interview with Yahoo! Sports. “It’s more of a maturity thing; he’s got to grow up in this area. He’s got to get realistic that they’re not a good football team right now and it’s going to be tough to win as much as he thinks he should, until they get some more good players.”
But what is driving the criticism of Newton? Moon hints at an ugly motive — race.
“I don’t understand it,” Moon said. “I heard somebody compare him to Vince Young. It’s the same old crap – it’s always a comparison of one black to another black. I get tired of it. I get tired of defending it.
“If you want to compare him to someone because of his demeanor, compare him to Jay Cutler. There are a lot of guys who whine and moan. Cam’s not biting anybody’s head off or pushing his linemen. He’s just disgruntled, and not handling losing well, because, think about it, he basically didn’t lose in college.
“I don’t think Cam’s as bad as Cutler, because Cutler looks like he doesn’t give a damn sometimes, or he’s yelling and cussing at someone. Cam, he just looks down when they’re losing.”
That’s the problem with Newton. He is the opposite of Cutler and he gives too much of a damn at times. That is when his lack of maturity comes in to play. Newton does not know how to handle the losses and it’s becoming a problem. How can Newton deal with the adversity? Start winning. But he is going to need some help from the Panthers.
The Panthers play-calling has become another topic of conversation lately — specifically from ESPN’s Ron Jaworski who says the Panthers play-calling is hurting Newton. Moon echoed that same belief.
“I don’t know why they got away from what they were doing last year,” Moon said. “They were running more of a pro-style offense, and now they’re going more to the read-option, the stuff he did in college. I think some of it is coaching. I think some of it is they don’t have enough good players yet. And there’s no question he’s not playing as well as last year.
“That offense doesn’t allow you to be an NFL-type quarterback. It’s a lot of tricks, sticking the ball into a running back’s stomach, trying to freeze the defense. Even though he can do that and had success with it in college, I don’t think it serves him well in the long run. You can’t keep going back and forth. I think he’s a little bit confused with the footwork, and I think that’s one of the problems with his accuracy – his feet are crossed up. Why this change? I think it’s backfiring. I think they’re out-thinking themselves.”
It’s clear that the Panthers problems run much deeper than Newton’s maturity. Whether it is racially motivated or not we will never truly know but something has to be fixed and the blame should be spread throughout the organization. Unfortunately for Newton, he is the easiest target for the media.