The Panthers have been in the national news quite a bit lately, but mostly for the wrong reason as Cam Newton has been ripped apart, put together, and ripped apart again by both writers and talking heads over his Superman celebration when the Panthers were being taken to the woodshed by the Giants last Thursday night on NFL Network.
Fortunately for you, Panthers fans, this edition of Paw Prints will not feature any stories about Cam's Superman fiasco, but because the media isn't saying much else about the team, this week's edition of Paw Prints is going to be a little light. At any rate, here are three Paw Prints for your reading pleasure.
The first Paw Print is about Newton, but it doesn't focus on the Superman pose. Jonathan Jones points out that while last week's loss to New York did severely upset Cam, he was focused and back to work on Monday:
"It’s been very good. It really has," Rivera said of Newton’s demeanor this week. "He was upset after the loss, he was upset on Friday but when he came in Monday at work he was ready to go. I think the thing he’s doing is working his way through those situations and the big thing is that he doesn’t let it affect the preparation for next week, and that’s probably the most important thing."
While I don't enjoy seeing Cam sulk after a loss to the magnitude that he does, I do appreciate the fact that he can put it behind him and get back to work when it's time to focus on the upcoming game. Now, if only he can learn how to do that on a play by play basis, he will have taken a giant step in his development as an NFL quarterback.
Our second Paw Print isn't as relevant now as it was when I first decided to include it in this week's installment, but below are a few thoughts from WR Steve Smith on the replacement officials, who are now (thankfully) out after the NFL and the NFLRA agreed to terms on an agreement that will allow the regular officials to return to work:
"They’ve got to do something. The integrity of the game, the shield, all the things they said in (the players’) lockout, they want to do this, they want to do that," Smith said. "At the end of the day, this is about numbers. And it’s about what everybody else wants – it’s about money."
This isn't really anything we didn't already know, but it confirms that the players (well, at least one of them) felt the same way the majority of the fans did about the situation. The NFL and NFLRA were fighting about money, and both sides (notably the NFL) were using excuses like "the integrity of the game" to try and get the other side to cave.
Our last Paw Print focuses on this week's game against the Falcons. After being abused by Giants QB Eli Manning last Thursday, rookie CB Josh Norman is still confident that he can be a difference maker on defense this week in Atlanta:
[DB Coach Steve] Wilks, a Charlotte native in his first year with the Panthers, first had to fix Norman’s psyche this week. Wilks told Norman the criticism directed at Norman stemmed from the fact that Norman played so well at training camp and during the preseason.
"It’s your fault. You set the bar up here, coming in and getting two and three interceptions at practice," Norman recalled Wilks saying. "That wasn’t anybody else’s fault but yours."
Josh, I like you. We all like you. But, you'll be fortunate if you don't get embarrassed again this Sunday. There's nothing wrong with that, since you'll be covering either Roddy White or Julio Jones, but don't try to get too far ahead of yourself . You still have a long way to go before you can be considered a premiere player. You'll get there eventually, but it's going to take time - and that time most likely won't be this Sunday.
Well, that's it for this edition of Paw Prints. If you have any stories you'd like to discuss (other than the Cam Superman Fiasco), feel free to fire away in the comment thread.
Also, please direct your attention to the new Paw Prints hub directly below the cover on the front page. You can now find all your Panthers news from around the web in one convenient place. Isn't that great?!