I think I've finally hit that point where typing 'Cam Newton' has become muscle memory and I can type it out in a split second. It's nice because I think we'll be typing his name for the next decade. I'll be the first to admit I had grave reservations about Newton's willingness to really push himself to be the best. It wasn't so much that I saw a character flaw, but rather there is a well established pattern of players who dominated their high school and college levels entering the NFL and not putting in all the work needed. When the game comes easily there's a natural tendency to expect this will continue, and I was concerned Newton would fall into this same trap.
What we have seen however, is the polar opposite to all those concerns. On draft day Newton said he wanted to be 'great' and directly referenced Peyton Manning's preparation for the game as something he admired. In April it was easy to get whisked away with words, and though I liked what I was hearing there were some reservations that Cam was 'talking the talk', but only time would tell us if he was willing to walk the walk. As I sit here in July it's become abundantly clear that Cam's been walking for almost three months now.
More after the jump
Today in the Charlotte Observer Joseph Person wrote that Cam Newton is currently running approximately 90% of the Carolina Panthers' playbook he was given following the draft. This represents an amazing amount of retention given the Chudzinski book is rumored to be approximately 900 pages long. QB coach Chris Weinke says he has made 'minor tweaks' to Newton's mechanics, and being impressed with his dedication to the practices at IMG in Bradenton, FL.
Newton and Weinke aren't solely working on Panthers' plays, but rather operating the entire offense. Cam is expected to get the play call using Panthers' terminology (including protection), Newton repeats the play in a simulated huddle, practices his cadence at the line of scrimmage and finally takes the snap under center and executes the play. If you remember, Newton was much maligned for his session in John Gruden's 'QB camp' in which he struggled to offer any semblance of NFL terminology when it came to play calling. Critiques varied from an inability to understand NFL terms to claims Auburn had to 'dumb down' their offense. This was countered by those saying Auburn's offense didn't require Newton to use complex play calling, so knocking him for it was unfair.
That situation is in the past now. Nobody should care about what Newton did during his interview with Gruden. What matters now is how Cam applies himself. I'll safely say at this point all my fears have been allayed regarding Cam's work ethic; he's walking the walk and the sky's the limit.s Weinke