Cam Newton may not get his chance to bust the Madden Curse myth this season but he will definitely get his chance to bust the 'sophomore slump' myth. Busting that myth though may not actually mean much:
Quality rookie starters like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton are in greater danger of being eaten by Big Foot or drowned by the Loch Ness Monster than falling victim to some imaginary NFL curse like the Sophomore Slump. Don't let ESPN or Pro Football Weekly fool you. It does not exist.
In fact, over the past 20 years the vast majority of NFL quarterbacks who started and played well as rookies noticeably improved in their second year.
One player missing from the the analysis that I thought of who might be an example of the slump is the Bucs Josh Freeman. Wrong! Actually he had a great 2nd season but fell off last season, his third. I guess just wishful thinking on my part. More after the jump...
Hat tip to jcbouche for being the first to post this on CSR via fanshot!
So the question we should asking is:
"Just how much better will Newton and Dalton be in 2012?"
Cam will be dynamite, Dalton not so much...lol! So what should be expect from Cam Newton in 2012:
On average, rookie quarterbacks who retained their starting roles for their entire sophomore years (which Newton and Dalton will likely do) improved upon their QR rating, yards per game, completion percentage, and threw fewer interceptions.
So instead of a slump we should expect a... sophomore surge!
So what will a surge season look like? Well Newton can certainly improve on his yardage (4,051 yds) and TD (21) totals from 2011. If you cut down on the mistakes, get the ball a couple more times a game due to an improved defense and sustain a few more drives I could see 4,400 yards and 25 TDs.
I doubt Newton will match his 14 rushing TDs but he could outpace his 700 yards rushing as he better detects when to take off and when to stand tall. I'm thinking 8 rushing TDs and 850 yards rushing.
So Newton's sophomore surge final regular season stat line would be 4,400 yards, 25 passing TDs, 850 yards rushing and 8 rushing TDs.