Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes....No Pun Intended....we the fan base of the Carolina Panthers
saw an offense come alive today. Back before the draft, most experts questioned if Cam Newton would be able to succeed in a pro style offense. Today in his coming out party Cam Newton put the rest of the NFL on notice. These aren't last year's Carolina Panthers, and he certainly isn't Jimmy Clausen
or even Jake Delhomme
. Who is he you ask? He is Cam Newton, the new FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK of the Carolina thers.
Completing 24 of 37 pass attempts, with 8 different receivers catching at least 1 pass, Newton was not only efficient in his first NFL regular season start, he was brilliant. He threw for 422 yards, surpassing Peyton Manning
's NFL record of 302 passing yards for a rookie QB in his first start. Averaging 7.0 yards per offensive play, Newton evaded an agressive Cardinals
defense dead set on the blitz and testing the young QB from the outset. When he was under pressure, Newton kept his eyes downfield allowing plays the time to develop and then made on target throws to his receivers. Completing nearly 65 percent of his passes, Newton was able to offset what some would consider an off night for running backs DeAngelo Williams
and Jonathon Stewart. Steve Smith to look like the Steve Smith of old with his 2 TD catches matching his total for all of 2010. Tight ends Greg Olsen
and Jeremy Shockey
combined for 148 receiving yards. At that pace they will surpass the total numer of yards from the tight ends on last years team by week 3. Brandon Lafell made his case for becoming the teams # 2 receiver with a 4 catch 70 yard performance.
Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski called a great game,playing ed to his teams stregnths, thus making things much easier for his rookie QB. This is the type of offensive system that will give defensives coordinators nightmares. Do they risk putting 8 in the box to stop the run, as you know Williams and Stweart are sure to bounce back, or do they play with 2 high safeties to cover the vertical threat and subject themselves to big gains on the ground. It is the true pick your posion, damned if you do damned if you don't scenario.
Was everything perfect, most certainly not. With the game on the line and 5 chances from the Cardinals 11 yard line the Panthers couldn't seal the deal. The O-Line allowed 4 sacks and looked completely out of sync at times. There is room for improvement. But there is also room for hope. This was a performance that can be built upon. They say there are no moral victories inthe NFL, but this one was pretty damn colse if you ask me.