After a sensational rookie campaign, it is not a surprise to many that Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had somewhat of a setback in 2012.
Newton still played well, but he regressed in passing yards, completion percentage, passing and rushing touchdowns from 2011 to 2012.
Newton also fell on ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski’s quarterback ranking list from No. 15 last offseason to 18 this season.
“What prevented Newton from moving up in my rankings from No. 15 a year ago was his passing,” said Jaws according to ESPN.com. “Not only did he struggle to read coverage, but he was far too erratic with his accuracy, too scattershot. Newton must become more precise.”
But unlike what the stats may suggest, Jaws believes Newton has continued to get better.
“He’s a big-time arm talent, and he improved as the (2012) season progressed,” said Jaworski.
At 24-years-old, Newton has plenty of time to become a great quarterback in the NFL. Carolina is expected to run fewer plays out of the read-option this season under new offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
Shula is the son of the NFL’s all-time winningist head coach Don Shula, and has been in coaching since 1988. The Panthers promoted Shula from quarterbacks coach when then offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski left to become head coach in Cleveland.
Although Newton has time to mold into a great quarterback, it could be a make or break season for Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. He is entering his third season as head coach, and Carolina has been much improved during his tenure, but they still haven’t had a winning season since 2008.
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