With week 2 now complete, more of Cam’s critics have fallen back into the wood works to avoid any other embarrassment about their incorrect assessments of the rookie QB. Although, now people are saying that he can put up yards, but fails to convert them into points. Let’s take this one step at a time folks. When Cam was doubted for being inaccurate, he became more accurate. When Cam was questioned as to whether or not he could make big plays consistently, he proved that he can against one of the best teams in the league in Green Bay. Now he can’t score in the redzone? I have a feeling, yet again, he is going to prove some people wrong.
It seems that the folks haranguing Newton to get some wins are forgetting the fact that he is not a veteran QB. He may play like one, but he is still deep in the learning process. Last Sunday he got a taste of some real pass defense after getting picked off 3 times. 2 of them came from veteran Charles Woodsen. If not for those interceptions and a devastating fumble by Steve Smith, we might have seen Carolina already in the win column. Not that it matters much in the stats, but Cam’s interceptions amounted to only 6 points against them. The fact remains that although Cam had a decent showing against the Super Bowl champs, the red zone offense was lacking in a big way.
Part of this problem is the lack of a solid running game. The biggest numbers pulled from a running back Sunday came from Jon Stewart. However, it wasn’t on the ground. Stewart had 100 receiving yards and Cam was the front runner on the ground bringing his total running numbers to 71 yards after two games. Double Trouble has barely broken 150 between the two of them. Is Cam really expected to bear the full weight of responsibility for not getting into the end zone when he is clearly missing a solid O-line and running game?
The things that impressed me the most Sunday were Cam’s ability to consistently move the ball up the field and find the open man. The Panthers were 6-13 in 3rd down conversions. This number has gotten better each week and results in the Panthers keeping the ball for longer in the game. Sunday their total possession time was 32:34. I wrote in my last post that if the Panthers could keep the ball for 40 minutes against Green Bay, they would win. I still think that would have been true because all of the turnovers happened after the Panthers had made at least 1 first down.
So far, the Panthers have done everything to get it to the red zone consistently. Once they are there is when they have difficulties pushing it in for a TD. Believe it or not this is a good problem to have for a team that is rebuilding with a rookie QB and no running game. Cam has seen enough red zone situations so far to know what works and what doesn’t. They should get more chances this Sunday. Once Chudzinski gets more production out of the running game, the points will come. Even if the run continues to struggle, it will force Cam to be smarter about who he passes to in the red zone. With Cam’s drive to lead a winning ball club, it shouldn’t be long before we see his overall production turn into winning scores.