There are some thingís about Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton that make me wonder at times.
I often wonder just how he continues to improve as a person and player amid all of the instability that is the Carolina Pantherís organization, in the face of all the criticism by media and the lack of support around him. The way he carries himself, what he says and even the way he celebrates are all fair game and subject† to critiscism by his critics. What I have never had to question to this point is his character or maturity.
Iím not saying Newton doesnít have flaws because that simply is not true. Newton has just as many faults as anyone else who puts their pants on one leg at a time. Whatís forgotten about Newton is that like everyone else he has time to improve as a person and as a quarterback and already has started to do so as a leader.
In no way is Newton a finished product. But I refuse to join the growing chorus of critics who want to dismiss him as a failure this second year of quarterbacking. It just seems that on the national side, there seems to be an overly eager effort to bury Newton and I donít understand why.
Before Newtonís arrival to the† Carolina Panthers organization in 2010, the† forward pass play was at best, an adventure. That team was miserable. I know because I lived through it.
In Newtonís first year, he revitalized an offense and put the spotlight on a team that got no national coverage other than to focus on their losses. During his sophomore season, statistically he is doing worse than his record-setting season, but he is maturing.
As fans, we have a very small window in which to judge quarterbacks, and fair or not, the final judgment relies heavily on the wins or losses column.
For Newton, that does not begin to tell his story.
The Panthers may be out of the playoffs and immeasurably disappointed by what unfolded this season, so much so that they could have easily mailed in the season and looked forward to next yearís. Rather, the 4-9 Panthers put forth a monster effort and stunned the league best 11-2, Atlanta Falcons.
Call it crazy, but I do believe that the Pantherís effort, led by Newton, illustrates what leadership truly is† ó continue fighting even when there is nothing left to fight for except pride.
National media and some players who arenít courageous enough to attach their own name to their criticism (which is very weak by the way) will continue their scathing reviews of Newton. I believe that if a person is going to say something critical about someone in a sporting arena, then that person should have the conviction to stand by his or her words. No matter what is said about Newton, or whomever may have a problem with him, all of his perceived issues are coachable and teachable.
You canít teach size, speed or the will to win and Iíll take those any day.