Bucky Brooks is reporting that he has spoken with Panther Team officials who said rookie QB Cam Newton has a lot of work to do before he is declared the starter:
I've heard from team officials that the Panthers will not play Newton extensively until he shows a firm grasp of the offense and they build a supporting cast that will enable him to have success as a starter.
I guess its a no-brainer that he has to grasp the play book etc... but I'm just surprised Brooks got the team to comment on this at all. I question whether this is a recent conversation or not because I can't believe the Panthers would say until they build a supporting cast around him. As Brooks points out, the Panthers have a pretty darn good one already. Losing Steve Smith would be a blow but only if its the old Steve Smith that shows up. The newer Smith that is looking for a more competitive situation might be a distraction not worth the effort to keep him.
This quote also worries me if it truly reflects the Panthers thinking:
The goal is to allow Newton to function as a game manager while the team relies heavily on the running game and a strong defense. If the Panthers can limit his pass attempts to less than 25 per game, Newton can develop at a rate that will allow him to minimize his inexperience and have success
This whole notion that the Panthers want a game manager is what doomed us last season in my opinion. If 2010 proved anything its an offense needs a QB who is a threat to score with his arm on any play. Relying on a rushing attack to free up the passing game may have worked in 2008 but teams have figured us out...or at least they figured out the prior offense. That's where Chud comes in. I'm okay with a target of 25 passes per game but many of those passes need to be down field. Otherwise we'll see a repeat of the 2010 ineptitude behind center.