The regular season has five more weeks to go but probably the biggest hot button topic outside of who the playoff contenders and pretenders are this year is who is deserving of the Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY); our own Cam Newton or the Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton. A debate on ESPN.com between Ashley Fox and John Clayton discusses who they feel is deserving of this year's award. Fox sides with Dalton, while Clayton supports Newton. I won't discuss the article in detail but I feel the points I want to make coincide with the views that supports Clayton's logic as well as every argument being made here at CSR. Its a good article and I encourage everyone to read it. I will have a poll for everyone to vote on who they feel is rooking of the year but just so everyone knows, the poll at ESPN.com had Dalton leading Newton 57% to 43%.
Tale of the Tape
Wins: Dalton has them, Newton not so much. Dalton has the luxury of a steady defense playing in support of his team, while Cam has had no luck whatsoever.
Newton goes into every game needing 28 points to have a chance to win. His three wins have come in games in which opponents were held to 20 points or fewer. Dalton has had eight games in which the opponent scored 20 or fewer points.
I think that sums it up in a nutshell. I played football briefly in high school and the one thing that was embedded in our heads was "Defense wins championships". I believe that to this day. Cam has played great, but not flawless so he has to be held accountable for some of the team's short comings. For example, against New Orleans, if you take away that pick six to open Carolina's first drive of the game, the Panthers may have won. The final score was 30-27 Saints. However, the lack of wins has stemmed from the Panthers inabilty to close out games, whether its in the third or fourth quarter.
Stats: Newton is rewriting the record books while Dalton is playing very steady for a rookie QB. This aspect of consideration is a no brainer. Cam may very well pass for over 4000 yards and will shatter the all time scoring record by a rookie. Currently, Newton is tied with Gale Sayers at 22 total TDs. It should also, be noted, that Cam would be the first QB amongst the top five of this list because after Sayers you have Eric Dickerson with 20 followed by Randy Moss, Fred Taylor, Edgerrin James and Clinton Portis with 17. The most interesting stat of all is this:
Perhaps the most telling stat for the two is how well Newton succeeds when he's in control of the situation. He's tied for fifth in the league with 21 10-play drives, putting him in a class with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger. Dalton is a respectable 22nd with 15 10-play drives.
I think that is really impressive based on the company Newton is in amongst the top.
In the end, I think either QB is deserving, but I have to give a slight edge to Cam based on what he has done on the field and having to play the toughest schedule in the league. If Cam doesn't win, then I look at it as positive sign because that will fuel his fire to be even better. However, Cam strikes me as the type of player who is more concerned about winning championships with his team than collecting personal hardware for a season well played. Despite who takes home the OROY award, I think Cam has the better career ahead of him and once the kinks in the armor are addressed and improvements are made, this Carolina team will be one to be reckoned with.