I've got a tasty batch of Paw Prints for your to peruse Panther fans. The season awards have started to come out and we can expect Cam Newton to get a slew of them:
Sporting News 2011 NFL awards: Cam Newton, Rookie of the Year - NFL - Sporting News
"When you look at what Cam did and you match it up statistically with what any other rookie quarterback has ever done in the National Football League, it’s impressive," ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck says. "When you factor in that he was thrown right into the fire, not having time to get reps. ... To do what he did in terms of a passer as well as a runner in his first year is without a doubt as impressive as any performance I’ve ever seen from a rookie."
Like I said, let the awards flow. I'll wait for a SB ring....
So look who was also a 1st alternate and is now going to Hawaii because the Giants made the Super Bowl:
Panthers QB Cam Newton and Bears DE Julius Peppers were named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster Monday. They replace Giants QB Eli Manning and DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who will not be available for the game because they advanced to Super Bowl XLVI with the Giants' win over the 49ers on Sunday in the NFC championship game.
Maybe Newton can show Peppers how to make a tradition through hard work instead of expecting it to be hard delivered.... Might we see Newton and Dalton go mano-a-mano in the 4th quarter of the Pro Bowl with the game on the line? Ace Boogie versus the Red Rifle:
On the fantasy front this pundit is expecting Newton to follow-up his 5th place finish in 2011 with...another 5th place finish:
5. Cam Newton, Panthers (2011 - 369.34 points): Newton had the greatest season from a rookie at his position, throwing for 4,051 yards with 706 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns. I think Stafford has a better chance to duplicate his 2011 totals than Newton, but the value of the two is even.
Way to go out on the limb there buddy... I love this Q&A with CB and former Panther PS player Patrick Burney, especially when he talks about his respect for HC Ron Rivera:
"Right after graduation, after I didn’t get drafted, the (Carolina) Panthers called when they were able to (talk to players after the lockout). (They) told me to come in, see if this was the place I wanted to go. Right from the get-go, especially with a team in North Carolina, automatically that’s where I wanted to go. I turned down one of my best coaches, Chuck Pagano at Baltimore. I turned that down. It was a hard decision. To this day, it (second-guessing) is still there, but just being a Panthers fan growing up, I had to go there. "Things worked out all during training camp, we just didn’t stop the run during the first couple of weeks and (Panthers coach Ron Rivera) had to make a move and he told me that man-to-man and I still respect him as a coming as a head coach because most of the time in that business you might not speak to the head coach. They might just let you go. But he came as a man and told exactly the reason why they had to let me and I was just happy the Rams picked me up."
Rivera is such a players coach...Back to more 2011 season awards, Pat Yasinkas with ESPN has put out his All-NFC South team, starting with the defense:
Defensive end: Charles Johnson, Panthers. He got his huge contract in the summer, but didn’t take the money and disappear. Johnson came through with nine sacks and also played the run fairly well.
Center: Ryan Kalil, Panthers. He’s becoming a Pro Bowl regular and might be the best center in the league.
Wide receiver: Steve Smith, Panthers. Rookie quarterback Cam Newton came along and revitalized Smith’s career. But I also think Smith deserves a lot of the credit for Newton’s success.
LT Jordan Gross was also included, who Pat called the best OT in the division.
Here's another Q&A, this one with former NFL HC Joe Gibbs who went off topic to discuss Cam Newton. What I find interesting is his focus on Newtons' comments and what his team mates were saying about him and not his stats or game tape:
His impressions of Cam Newton: "I didn't get a chance to see him, but I was more impressed with what the team was saying about him and his comments. He sounds like he's a team guy and the players were all bragging about how hard he works. The guy is gifted. Look at the guy. You get somebody like that who works hard and the team believes in him and is saying the right thing, I think that means a lot with a quarterback."
I would say this Joe knows what he is talking about...