Panthers QB Cam Newton came into the NFL under a lot of scrutiny before he took his first snap from scrimmage. Some of it even led to former NFL great Warren Moon to raise the "racial flag" as a reason why; sighting similar scrutiny that he experienced coming into the league himself. Most NFL personalities like Skip Bayless and Nolan Nawrocki gave scathing reviews of Newton and accused him of everything from having " an enormous ego" to a "fake smile." It amazes me sometimes how some of these so called "analysts" can claim to know so much about a players character they've never met. By Nawrocki's assessment you'd think he and Newton had a history of taking long showers together. A closer look at Nolan and you won't have to look very far to see that he has a history of degrading every black QB he's ever written an opinion on.
Cam Newton is an other worldly talent with the kind of physical attributes this league hasn't seen since Donte Culpepper. His rookie season was record breaking as he passed for more yards than any before his time. Had the Panthers had any semblance of a defense and that team would have easily made the playoffs as the Newton led offense was one of the best in the league. Year two the offense regressed as former OC Rob Chudzinski went away from the two TE sets Newton thrived in and decided to take a page out of Skins' coach Mike Shanahan's playbook in order to run the "read option." I am of the mindset that "If it ain't broke don't fix it" thought process. The offense from Newton's rookie year worked. fast forward to the 2013 season and the offense has gone from bad to worse. While most teams are moving towards more wide open, up tempo offenses, coach Rivera is keeping the Panthers offense at a plodding, snail race pace. On NFL.com coach Rivera said in an interview that:
"I'm not quite sure what the real, true benefit is other than having a few more plays," Rivera said Thursday, per The Charlotte Observer. "People say, 'Well, you get 75, 80 plays going faster.' You also can go 1-2-3 and out faster and put the other team back on the field faster. So which is it?"
I don't think coach Rivera saw the Monday night game between the Eagles and the Redskins. The Eagles looked exactly the way I thought they would in that game, as I felt from day one that Kelly would immediately pay dividends for Philadelphia. Regardless of only being one game into the season it won't take long before all of the naysayers realize that Chip Kelly and the Eagles are the real deal. That said, the benefits of running some form of a hurry up offense are on display and have been since the offensive onslaught by the Brady led Pats last year (which they stole from Chip Kelly). Ron Rivera's current offensive philosophy is a dinasaur amongst cheetahs. The player most hurt by this approach is Newton. By refusing to change with the times, coach Rivera is handicapping his most valuable asset: Cam Newton. Newton's growth as a player has already been stunted one year, and going on two if the current status qua continues. If Coach Rivera doesn't change his stripes, the Panthers will be in the market for a new coach at season's end.