I don't mean to come off sounding like a broken record, I really don't, but discussing Cam Newton just so happens to be one of those things that is going to be the focal point of the 2011 season for the Carolina Panthers. From what I can ascertain there are a lot of fanbases in the NFL tired of hearing about Cam Newton... go figure. Truth be told I probably wouldn't want to hear about him either, especially if I had a QB struggling.
However it isn't just me who is sounding like a broken record, Cam does too in his own way, or perhaps more aptly he sounds like broken records- plural. A couple of weeks back I took a look at Newton as he stacked up with other former #1 picks through their first three weeks. Now, however, there's no need to compare him to Sam Bradford or Matthew Stafford, there's only one QB to keep an eye on and that's Peyton Manning and Newton is on pace to smash his record dating back to 1998. We'll look at this, and more...
After the jump
The magic number we're looking for is 3,739. This is the number of yards Peyton Manning threw for 13 years ago when he began his climb to NFL prominence. Never before had a rookie come close to such a mark, and due to the steep learning curve of the NFL it seemed it would be a long time for that record to be broken.
Then came Cam.
After five weeks in 1998 Manning had thrown for 1,129 yards, 4 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Manning and the Colts were 1-4 at the time, largely because of Peyton's costly turnovers... is this ringing any bells? It should.
As it stands Cam Newton has just finished his 5th NFL game, and we are roughly 1/3rd of the way through the season. His numbers so far: 1,610 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. He's not just beating Manning's pace, he's destroying it. Naysayers are alluding to Newton getting to throw all the time, but I suggest they look at Manning over this time period who threw 169 times, just 25 less attempts than Newton.
If Cam is able to keep up this pace he's scheduled to finish with 5,152 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. This would demolish Manning's record by well over 1,000 yards. As impressive as that is there's another mark that's looming at the same time... and that's the team record.
In 1999 QB Steve Beuerlein had an amazing Pro Bowl season in which he threw for 4,436 yards and 36 TDs. While it seems unlikely that Newton will be able to eclipse his TD number, there is a good chance he'll be able to beat the yardage record as he has plenty of room to have a bad game here or there.
I think it's time we start counting down how many yards Newton needs so he too can sound like broken records.
Peyton Manning's rookie record: Needs 2,129 passing yards (194 yards per game)
Steve Beuerlein's Carolina record: Needs 2,826 passing yards (257 yards per game)