I understand the baggage that's associated with drafting a QB with the first overall pick, especially one seen as positionally raw as Cam Newton. However, at this point the stories about who is going to 'mentor' Cam are getting a little too 'keystone cops' for my liking. The media are tripping over themselves trying to find out which teacher will be 'the one' to turn raw plutonium into usable energy.
Last week we had the rumor that Brett Favre was going to be the man for the job, but late in the week we got a true sense of who is helping Cam Newton along other than Warren Moon- and it comes from a source close to Panthers' fans hearts, former QB Chris Weinke
More after the jump...
UPDATE: Per Chris Mortensen via Twitter, Weinke assisted the Panthers with pre-draft evaluation of Newton. He also says the relationship between Weinke and the organization remains strong.
I'm sure when you first read that name it conjures up images of an aged, failing Heisman winner who never seemed to get 'it' during his time in the NFL. Shoot, we've named the 'do-not-want dog' Weinke for a reason, but it would be a big mistake to equate playing failure with teaching failure- just as it would be to equate playing success with teaching success.
Since leaving the NFL Chris Weinke has become an instructor at IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, FL and has done excellent work in his time there. Most recently, Weinke worked directly with QB coach Terry Shea to help prepare Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder for the NFL draft. In this regard, Weinke is seen as one of the up and coming QB coaches and it seems a matter of time before he's attached to an NFL team.
If you're still worried about a failed QB teaching a young QB then please, consider this:
2,985 career yards, 54.9% completion, 16 TD, 24 INT and a QB rating of 64.1
That's a pretty bad QB isn't it? I mean I certainly wouldn't want that QB training my new star... would you?
This quarterback in mention is Alex Van Pelt, former 8th round pick in the 1993 NFL draft and current QB coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Van Pelt is credited for being the 'difference maker' in Josh Freeman's development, and around league circles there is a great deal of buzz that he will be the next in line for an offensive coordinator job.
The moral of this story is that I understand there is baggage associated with Chris Weinke, but try to not let it cloud your judgement when realizing this is Weinke the coach, not Weinke the player. He's considered a darn fine QB coach, and unlike Brett Farve he may not have the rings, but he has experience.