Cam Newton has said in interviews that his team needs to start winning games. The much-maligned towel, and his propensity to pout on the sideline -- both a byproduct of frustration. Newton's maturity and demeanor in-game has been the source of too much overwrought analysis and inference, but the fire got fanned yesterday because Dave Gettleman took a long pause. Yep, we're majoring in minors again.
It didn't matter that Carolina's GM said he believed in Newton, or that he gave effusive praise over his first two seasons, which he called "the best two years of any quarterback in NFL history". The talking point became his delay in answering a pointed question, this from Joe Person's article yesterday for the Charlotte Observer.
Gettleman was asked whether Newton was the quarterback to build around.
After a pregnant, seven-second pause, Gettleman said: "Yes, he is. But now it's time to win."
That pause is what's created doubt in the mind of some Panthers' fans -- making them believe the new GM doesn't have faith in the franchise QB. After all, this is the same man who arrived in Carolina and started talking about changing Cam's game by making him more of a pocket QB, while sending his scouts to work out Ryan Nassib prior to the draft.
Mistrust is to be expected in these parts, but the endless denigration of Cam Newton because of his win/loss record isn't just inane, it's stupid and lazy. Do the Panthers need to win more games? Yes, you're darn right they do -- but it's hilarious that Newton is separated from the rest of the young elite.
Cam has talked about the areas he needs to improve, and been open about his own struggles. Why then is it a controversy when his general manager shares the sentiment? Ultimately Newton is the league's lightning rod, towering over the quarterback position as the tallest stalk people are waiting to cut down.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com knows the Panthers' organization well, and let his feelings be known.
It's interesting that the @panthers GM is calling out Cam Newton for his W/L record when the team hasn't surrounded him w/top off. talent
The @panthers are still looking for a No.2 WR to complement Smith and Olsen is the only other established option in pass game.
Lastly, J.Stewart and D.Williams are upper echelon RBs, but team rarely gives them 30-35 combine carries.
Seems everyone should pay attention to the "elephant in the room", not just the QB.
Before fans counter with Andrew Luck leading the @colts back to prominence, look at how the team drafted offensive playmakers around him..
Brooks makes some excellent points about how the offense has been mis-managed. I contest that the second receiver spot isn't as big of an issue as he makes out. It's my belief that Brandon LaFell's lack of productivity at times was a factor of Rob Chudzinski's offensive scheme, and not the third-year receiver. However, he's right on the money about the lack of playmakers put around Newton and how the running backs are misused.
When Andrew Luck was drafted the Colts also selected two tight ends, two wide receivers, a running back and an offensive guard -- six total picks used to make his life easier. Newton has been given a wide receiver who's really a kick returner, and two offensive guards -- in three years.
I don't believe Gettleman "called out" his quarterback, not by a long shot. I saw Gettleman defending his QB, saying that too much emphasis is put on the W/L record, which is true. Newton needs to be more consistent, typified by his six games last year with a low QB rating -- but Newton has been the reason the Panthers have won 13 games over two years, not the reason they've lost 19. That will remain true, long pause or not.