Cam Newton: NFC's Most Over-Rated Player?

Yes I did a double take on the title as well. Apparently ESPN's KC Joyner thinks Cam Newton is 'over-rated' and he has the statistics to back it up, or so he says. What I find interesting about this (or humorous actually) is that calling someone 'over-rated' is a very subjective statement. You don't need to stats to back up such a proclamation because its an opinion. Yet Joyner opts to use stats to justify including Newton at the top of list of players he has dubbed over-rated. Here's part of his reasoning:

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Newton's backers would defend his Pro Bowl nomination last year by quoting that Newton set a single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (14) and became the first player to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 yards in a season.

Those are impressive marks on their face but they are quantity-based and occurred after a lockout-truncated offseason. As I mentioned in my fantasy football draft guide, the lockout hurt defenses' ability to practice blitzes, which was a primary factor in why passing offenses were so explosive early on.

This impacted Newton as much as anyone, as he threw for 374 or more yards in three of his first four games. Once defenses started to get up to speed, however, Newton wasn't close to as effective a passer, throwing for 208 or fewer yards in five of his last six games.

Here I was thinking it was the offenses that suffered most by the lock out but instead it was the defenses who were not able to practice how to blitz. Are you getting this? Since defenses started adjusting for Newton and the passing game i.e. not stacking the box to stop the Panthers running game, his passing numbers dropped.

I might offer that the Panthers also won 4 of those 6 games and might not have needed to throw the ball as much. Joyner has more we will discuss...after the jump...

Joyner: These defensive adjustments are a main reason why Newton came up short in the areas of vertical yards per attempt (10.5, tied for 21st) and stretch vertical yards per attempt (12.6, tied for 17th). (Note: vertical passes are aerials thrown 11 or more yards downfield; stretch vertical passes are thrown 20 or more yards)

Yes and consequently the Panthers starting running and guess what? Winning. I'll tell you Panther fans you just can't win if you are a QB like Newton. Put up great stats and they say 'But you only won two games out of 8'. If then over a six game period you go 4-2 but your stats drop they say 'see he's over-rated'. Joyner continues with the stats:

Newton also came up well short in ESPN's Total QBR metric (56.6, ranked 16th) and he posted a 4.2 percent bad decision rate (BDR) that was the fifth-highest mark in that category last season. (Note: BDR measures how often a quarterback makes a mental error that leads either to a turnover or a near-turnover such as a dropped interception)

There is little doubt Newton's incredible drive will, when combined with his talent, make him a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in the future, but he isn't quite there yet.

So a rookie QB who has statistically the greatest rookie season in the history of the NFL is over-rated because he came in 16th in ESPN's cooked up QB metric. You have got to be kidding me. The notion that defenses suffered more from the lock out than Newton is a ridiculous notion in my view. A rookie QB, new HC & OC, no OTAs, no mini camp = advantage over defense. Ha!

I don't let this stuff upset me though. Keeping talking trash about our boy because he's going to take the over-rated part of his game and win a Super Bowl with it.

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