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Obvious talent aside, what specifically do you think are the main reasons for Cam Newton's fast development into a Pocket Passer and having an apparent grasp of an extremely intricate and complex offense in such a short space of time?
There are two distinct reasons Newton has excelled thus far:
1) He is extremely hard working and willing to spend dozens of hours honing his craft.
2) The Panthers and IMG handled him perfectly coming out of the draft.
In hindsight I feel like the lack of a full off-season actually helped Cam Newton, rather than hindering him. I say this because rather than going through OTAs, team bonding activities and running specific plays he was down in Bradenton, FL working with Chris Weinke and Ken Dorsey on one thing- becoming an NFL QB.
Getting Newton a playbook quickly and having him in Florida meant he could study the plays they would be running, and spend ample time working on his fundamentals before ever needing to apply them on the practice field. Furthermore, during OTAs there's a limit on how long/how many days a player can practice. From what we can ascertain Cam was spending 5-6 days a week at IMG working on being an NFL QB, he couldn't have done this in an NFL setting.
More after the jump
Watching Carolina's horrifying Special Teams and Run and Pass Defense against the Arizona, Green-bay and Chicago games. It clear as day that the there's a lack of talent and experience in both the Defense and Special teams. With the offense running pretty efficiently right now with Cam under center. What short term solutions do you anticipate BAMF and the Coaching staff will implement to try and stop the rot?
As painful as it is to say, I don't think we'll see any short term relief. The over-arching goal of this football team is to build steadily through the draft, and evaluate the talent we have. As soon as Jon Beason and Thomas Davis went down for the year it was a bellwether that the defense would struggle in 2011. While there are likely better options via trade and veterans than who we are playing if we are to get stop gaps then it takes away from the long term vision for the team.
The only players you are really seeing us bring in are those who are still extremely young and have upside. Hence the devotion to the waiver wire over trades or free agency. Ron Rivera entered his first draft blind because of the lack of OTAs, which left very little room for talent evaluation. That time for evaluation is occurring now and that will influence the 2012 draft.
What is it with Panthers fans and the lack of enthusiasm for the team at games? A majority of fans sit in the stands and only jump up and clap when they score. Well, ok, sometimes when they make a play too. At the GB game, a guy two rows behind me kept yelling at me to sit down so he could watch the game - and he was wearing a Panthers jersey?!
Are we too young of a fan base to know how to cheer? Are prices too expensive for fans and only corporate suits go who really don't have an interest in the team but free food and beer provided by the company? Does Richardson want to sanitize the experience so it so it's more like DisneyWorld than Lambeau?
At it's core I think we have a lot of fans, but relatively few fanatics... and that is the core of the lack of identity at BoA. In areas like Green Bay, or like Philadelphia their city culture is steeped in a tradition of football. This creates a situation where fans know it's okay to be an absolute lunatic for three hours on Sunday, but be a mild mannered person away from the stadium. Unfortunately the PSL system is partly to blame for this issue also because you have a scenario where some PSL holders treat heading to a Panthers game as a social event, rather than a sporting event. In my experience the one game folks tend to treat the game like a special event, one they need to get crazy over whereas I feel a portion of season holders view games as passe.
I also hate the sanitization of the stands you talk about. I understand JR has always wanted to promote a family friendly environment, but sometimes professional sports and family fun are incongruous. You have alcohol consumption and passion mixing in a way that promotes loud behavior and foul language. I feel there needs to be an understanding that this is just how the NFL is, rather than having people text a number and get them kicked out.
Personally, I'd like to see family friendly areas in each seating level set up that tell fans that the expectation in this area is family friendly behavior, and then outside these areas they can relax the rules and security.
Overall I think we're seeing the quality of fan reaction improve at the stadium, but it will take some time.
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