This is no news to anybody. A rookie QB stepping in to lead a franchise, hopefully to a Super Bowl, over the next several years. He’s been facing constant scrutiny by fans and analysts alike. Jerry Richardson even asked him to keep his hair cut short and his body tattoo-free. Not to mention that Newton has been in the public eye for deeds unbecoming of a star hopeful in the NFL since before he even signed with the Panthers.
Those are just the image parts of the job. Playing wise he has shown a few issues with mechanics and his ability to run an offense at the professional level. This coupled with the lack of the better part of an off season puts him at a great disadvantage when it comes to playing as the starter from day one.
But all of these things everyone knew would happen as soon as Newton signed on. There’s not a single QB in the league that can escape the critical eye of the media. So how will the Panthers take some pressure off of Cam?
Really, Cam will be feeling that pressure even more after the season starts. His path is set in motion and it’s either sink or swim and hope for the best. But there are things the Panthers and it’s fans can do to alleviate some of that pressure. The receivers need to get in the game quickly. Steve Smith is a legend for the team, but even he can’t do it alone. There has got to be another impact receiver that can get open in a hurry so that Cam can make a play, other than the run. I mentioned both the defensive and offensive lines in previous articles, but they are expected to play better. You can’t always guarantee that a receiver will own the role and shine. Someone needs to be the other leader.
As fans, we have to realize that this year is not our year. It is highly unlikely that we will go to the post season. It is highly unlikely that Cam will get rookie QB of the year, even if he plays well. The best we can hope for is a winning record and a chemistry that will light the way for the future of the organization. Players will come and go, but it is up to the here and now to establish what the game will look like. And it starts with fans understanding what this year really means. Jimmy Clausen may be an easy target for the “booing”crowds, but he appears to be an irrelevant piece to the puzzle now that he is sitting in third. If Cam gets the same treatment Clausen got last year, we are all back at square one. Patience is key this year, next year may be a different story.