It should be obvious by now: Cam Newton is the best there ever was, the best there ever is and the best there ever will be.
At least that’s what I keep hearing on ESPN every single day of my life.
The dude’s a physical freak of nature, don’t get me wrong, but is he an elite quarterback in the NFL already?
Not a chance.
He’s passed for 854 yards in two games, that obviously means that he will throw for 6,832 yards this season and shatter Dan Marino’s nearly untouchable mark of 5,084 passing yards in a season.
Newton has thrived so far in his first two games, and I will give him the benefit of the doubt that I did not expect his second 400-yard performance in week two. But let’s be honest, he still sits at 0-2 and his stats (outside of yardage alone) are nothing to write home about.
Newton sits at 16th in total quarterback rating (QBR), which was developed by ESPN this season to replace the outdated quarterback rating. It takes into account all of a quarterback’s contribution to his team.
Newton’s total QBR sits at 53.1 (out of 100), so he is run of the mill.
He's not the chosen one, not the next Marino and for sure not comparable to Tom Brady.
Newton also sits 16th in completion percentage and is tied with seven other players at 14th in touchdowns (three) this season. He is also tied for the league lead in interceptions, with four.
Yes, he has doubled the Seahawks in total yards, but the common denominator between the two is that they have the same record, and I bet Carolina won’t take Andrew Luck if they have a lower pick than Seattle.
Newton is flourishing in a system that has been pass-happy and is fourth in the league in pass attempts. Also, Head Coach Ron Rivera has almost completely shifted the Panthers away from the run; they have only run the ball 48 times this season.
Eighteen of those runs have been by Newton himself.
Furthermore, Newton oftentimes stares down one receiver on plays, making him more susceptible to interceptions and as defenses learn to adapt to him, more and more balls will end up in defensive backs'hands.
There’s more that goes into Newton’s good fortune as well, with the lack of training camp and preparation prior to the season.
Defensive back is one of the hardest positions in football to play, especially when teams line up in five wide receiver sets. With no training camp this season, it is nearly impossible for defensive units to jell immediately.
Rather than lining up in base 4-3 or 3-4 packages, defenses have had to play against the Panthers with numerous defensive backs on the field, a sign that Newton’s production may not be what it appears.
That’s why guys like Charles Woodson thrived against Newton; he had been in a system where he is comfortable and he knows his assignments.
His teammates weren’t so lucky.
As more and more defenses practice together and get more acquainted, we will see a drop in passing efficiency instead of seeing the gaudy numbers that quarterbacks have been able to post so far.
Or maybe Cam Newton is the next phenomenon, but I’m going to stick with my logic here.