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Why Cam Newton Is Not As Good As Andrew Luck Or Robert Griffin III (And Why You Shouldn't Care Because It Is Meaningless)


Adam Schein wrote a provocative article that states that merely because Cam Newton is not as good as Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck, he is a failure who will never amount to anything in the NFL. Which is ... interesting. Eli Manning is not as good as Peyton Manning. Eli Manning: 2 rings. Peyton Manning: 1. (The same can be said when comparing Ben Roethlisberger to Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.) Joe Flacco is - by most estimations - not as good as Philip Rivers or Matt Ryan. Flacco: 1 ring. Ryan and Rivers? 0. So not being the best QB in the NFL - or even one of the top 5 QBs in the NFL - doesn't mean squat. You just need to be a good QB and have a very good team around you.

But that isn't why you shouldn't care. Instead, this is why Panthers fans shouldn't care: the reason why Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are better than Cam Newton.

Years spent in a passing/pro style offense in college by Andrew Luck: 4 (do not forget his redshirt year)

Years spent in a passing/pro style offense in college by Robert Griffin III: 4 (do not forget his injury year)

Years spent in a passing/pro style offense in college by Cam Newton: 0. Florida was an option heavy offense (see Tebow, Tim) and so was Auburn.

But wait. There is more. To illustrate my point even better:

Career college passing attempts by Andrew Luck: 1064

Career college passing attempts by Robert Griffin III: 1192

Career college passing attempts by Newton: 292.

(Yes, I am taking the position that Newton's JUCO year doesn't amount to a whole lot. Why? Because Newton was the #2 rated JUCO QB in 2009. What is the #1 rated JUCO QB that year doing right now? #3, #4 or #5? Or what about the top 5 rated JUCO QBs for the last 5 years? Exactly. The only other QB with a JUCO background to do anything in the NFL in recent years is Aaron Rodgers.)

People, this is why Adam Schein is so totally, completely thoroughly wrong. For Newton to be so utterly lacking in anything that would prepare him for the NFL in college (or high school, where he also did not run a pro-style offense, which is why his home state school recruited him as a TE) and yet step in and be so statistically dominant while winning games (OK, not enough games, but it isn't as if they've gone 2-14 or even 4-12 or something) is nothing less than incredible. And that they he has done it without the sort of supporting cast that, say, Colin Kaepernick enjoys in San Francisco makes it even more so.

So though Newton has flaws in his game, he is going to get better. I am not saying that Luck and Griffin III aren't going to get better too. Only that Newton has much more potential to get better. Even now with 2 years in the NFL under Newton's belt, Luck and Griffin III have started more games beyond high school: 56 for Luck and 58 for Griffin III versus 46 for Newton.

Here's the thing: Schein knows this. Everybody does. But Schein wants us to forget why everyone thought that Cam Newton was going to be historically bad his rookie season (except maybe as a runner) and then expected Newton to suffer a severe dropoff - instead of merely a noticeable one - his second season: because he is so raw. But now he wants everyone to casually forget that and judge Newton as if he were a 3 year starter for Miami, USC or Oklahoma or something. Or for - gasp - Oklahoma.

And for the record, if "QBs are judged by wins and losses", Tim Tebow and Vince Young would still be starting QBs in the NFL. Both QBs have winning records as starters, and both took their teams to the playoffs in their 2nd season in the league. But neither guy has an NFL team right now because neither guy can throw a football in the NFL. But that was just one erroneous statement made by Schein in a column filled with them.

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