Update: Now includes comments from Dan Marino, B.J. Raji, and some thoughts from the Packers locker room.
The majority of us have been impressed with Cam Newton's first two starts as a rookie (heck, he's broken more records at the NFL and Panther levels than even his most ardent fans could have imagined).
“I’m impressed, I’m real impressed with the way he has played,” Rodgers told me after the game. “He throws the ball real well and he moves well. He has been impressive for two weeks. I didn’t see him a whole lot last week but seeing him in person today, he has a chance to be a really, really, really good player...”
“I wouldn’t have been able to do that,” Rodgers added about Newton’s back-to-back 400-yard passing games in his first two NFL starts. “I really wouldn’t. For him to come in and play the way he has the first two weeks is incredible. It really is. You don’t expect it from a rookie.
“You don’t expect a guy to come in and be able to be efficient as he has been and make the plays that he has,” Rodgers continued.
Apparently, the Packers locker room was also suitably impressed:
"I think someone said in the locker room that I'm kind of glad we played him early in the season," Rodgers said, "because when he figures it out fully, he's going to be even tougher to stop." (Ed: You're darn right!)
Now it's all well and good for us to be impressed. But Aaron Rodgers is a long-time student of the game, not only playing behind Brett Favre, but having come into his own with a Superbowl win--he is a great quarterback. So when I hear him talk about Cam's development this way, I think it's really something to get excited about. And when the Packers locker room—which is full of elite athletes—gives Cam and the Panthers this kind of respect, it's good news for us.
Rodgers' teammate, B.J. Raji, told this to ESPN:
"I knew he would be good, but if I told you I knew he'd be this good this early, I'd be lying to you," said Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji, who had one of four sacks of Newton. "He doesn't get frustrated. We threw a lot of stuff at him today and he was able to sit back there and make some of the plays they needed."
Dan Marino also weighed in on his Twitter account, saying first:
Cam Newton looking good!
And then followed up with another post:
Carolina got themselves a quarterback with Cam Newton. It's exciting to watch!
This is just fantastic. Last week, Joe Namath raved over the way Cam Newton played and now Dan Marino. Very excited to see what the future holds for us. Next week: Jags at home. Hope we get the W.