Cam Newton showed great potential in his 2011 rookie season with the Carolina Panthers, throwing for 4051 yards with 21 touchdowns. He was the Associated Press's Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl.
Newton is undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes the NFL has seen in a long time, if ever, with an impressive 7,920 yards and 40 touchdowns in a two year period. Despite his great numbers, however, the Carolina Panthers failed to make the playoffs in 2012.
The Panthers have several new reasons to be hopeful in the upcoming season. Mike Shula, son of Hall of Famer, Don Shula, was named the new Offensive Coordinator after Rob Chudzinski left to become the Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns. This will be Shula's first defensive coordinator job since he left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1990's. Unlike Chudzinski, Shula will bring a more traditional approach, hopefully, allowing for less confusion in the huddle, setting Newton up for better decision making.
The pressure is definitely going to be on Newton. The Panther's roster did not change very much but they did acquire two new wide receivers, Former New York Giant, Domenik Hixon and former San Francisco 49er, Ted Ginn, Jr., giving Newton more 'go to' options in conjunction with Greg Olsen and the incomparable, Steve Smith.
If the last six games of last season is any indication, the Panthers have a lot to look forward to in 2013. After a dismal 2-8 start, the Panthers fought back to win 5 of their last 6 games, finishing last season at 7-9. It's still anyone's guess if they will make it to the playoffs this season but I definitely would not count them out!