Thursday, November 17, 2011

Does Cam need a better sideline attitude?

In the absence of much other news involving the Carolina Panthers, the attitude of Panther quarterback Cam Newton continues to be a hot-button issue for Carolina fans.

Before we get into the towel Newton puts over his head when things aren't going well, let me say this: Newton is the best thing to happen to this team in a long time. He has made them relevant, interesting and dangerous. If he's not the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, that's crazy.

But as for the way Newton isolates himself on the sideline when things aren't going well, I'm not a huge fan of it. Whether he's got the towel on his head or not doesn't make a difference to me, but I would like to see him trying to inspire his teammates more and less involved in his private pain, alone on a corner of the bench.

I think this will come with maturity. Newton is so dynamic it's easy to forget he's a rookie, sorting out his emotions on a far more public stage than most 22-year-olds have to do.

Newton said Wednesday he wasn't about to change his behavior, saying of losing: "This is something that I'm not used to and it's something that I'm not going to get used to. So you look at it as poor leadership. You look at it as a sore loser. I'd rather be a sore loser than anything."

He also said: "I want to win. So I'm going to try to win. And if I don't win, I'm going to pitch a fit."

Right now, as another writer once joked, he is more like "Cam Neton" because the "W's" are missing. The Panthers are 2-7 and about to go on a three-game road trip. Newton, unfortunately, is going to get a lot more chances to practice losing before this season is over.

As I wrote five weeks ago about Newton on this subject:

A good leader grabs his team by the shoulder pads and pulls them up when everyone is down about a loss. But Newton is so involved in his private pain after losses that he has a hard time letting anyone else inside.

There's so much to like about Newton. Don't misunderstand me - he's the biggest reason this team has hope again. He has both Super Bowl and hall of fame potential. I love watching him.

He knows how to win. How to throw. How to run.

But Newton has got to get better at three things - how to learn from losing. How to lead. And how to finish.

When Newton gets those three down pat, there's no limit to what he will do.


I still believe that. And I think he will learn all three of those things and, eventually, become a great NFL quarterback. But, like all rookies, he's a work in progress.

29 comments:

Jeyone75 said...

Scott, I respect your writing but, I have to disagree with you and apparently everyone else in the media on this one. I think too much is being made of his sideline behavior. Let's keep things in perspective. As you mentioned, he is a rookie and he's only 22 years old. The loses this year have been gut wrenching...this wouldn't be a big deal if the Panthers were winning. Also, if he were sitting on the bench smiling all the time, like Julius Peppers or the older veteran Derek Anderson was caught doing last year, then people would complain about that, so Cam Newton can't please everybody. Obviously, he's very competitive and he hates losing so we can just leave it at that. In time he will gain more maturity and he'll be able to handle it better, but we're asking alot if we are realistically expecting him to be the sideline cheerleader, lead a pep rally on the sideline, be the coach everything just 9 games into his rookie year. Some people have to be alone, as Cam Newton does, to stay focused, obviously he's alone in his thoughts at those times. I've seen Manning and Brady do it all the time, especially when they are losing. Even Micheal Jordan wasn't the best teammate whenever he lost. So give him a break, Its not his fault that we have a kicker who can't make a 30 yard field goal when the game is on the line, it's not his fault that our defense can't tackle or stop anybody and our special teams is dead last in the league, if this team were full of players like Cam Newton then we would be winning, but instead we have a bunch of below average players, its that simple.

Anonymous said...

Good Post, and I agree with your earlier words. Once Newton learns how to learn from losing, how to lead, and how to finish, there will be no stopping his potential.

Charlie Swing said...

I agree with this. I love that Cam cannot accept losing. I WOULD though like for him to channel this energy into motivating his sideline and lifting others' spirits. But yes, I think this may come with time.

Jeyone75 said...

I still can't stop thinking about how bad our defense and special team is. I've never seen worst tackling in an NFL game than what was demonstrated in that Titans game, just unacceptable. That was all about desire and want to, or lack there of. That game highlighted what's been missing all year on defense and that's leadership...really this team doesn't have any veteran leadership, especially with the absense of Beason and Davis. This was clearly evident in that Titans game, guys were out there just going through the motions on defense. The team really needs the veteran leadership that has been missing all year in Kasay, Beason and Davis. We are asking too much if we expect Newton, the rookie qb, to have that responsibility on top of everything else he has to focus on.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind if he cries after the game is over, but he is starting to do it when the game is not over yet. He was doing it in the third quarter agianst Tennessee and they were only down 2 touchdowns. I would much rather have seen him looking over plays or talking to his team or coaches. Leave the crying until the game is over!!!

Anonymous said...

I definitely have to agree 100% with this post. There's a difference in not being content with losing and just handling it the wrong way. Nobody likes to lose and I'm sure Newton is going throught some changes that he wasn't quite prepared for but he's an NFL QB and moping on the sideline when things don't go your way is unacceptable. This issue is my ONE AND ONLY knock on Cam but I think he'll get better at it starting next season. I'm not saying to dance on the sideline like the Dolphins but set an example for the rest of the team, the fans, and the world that we're gonna play hard till the end with our heads up...win or lose

Anonymous said...

If you don't like how Cam Newton looks on the sideline then quit watching him & watch the game instead. Would you rather have a guy that is joking around about how sorry the Panthers are playing or a guy that is angry about losing. Give me the guy that cares too much over the guy that doesn't care at all any day of the week. Cam Newton is hyper competitive. That is the biggest reason why he will be great.

Anonymous said...

Too many of the posters here use the "argument" that Cam can only be either mad or happy. That's nonsense. A leader doesn't isolate himself from his comrades for extended periods, but rather instead he feeds them and feeds off of them. Brief isolation to gather one's thoughts is perfectly fine, but to remove and dissociate is NOT a leader...that would be more like an individual contributor sorta like Steve Smith is. Cam's young and not ready to lead apparently. Hopefully that will change this year or next when he's more comforatble in a leader's role.

Anonymous said...

I would rather see the towel over his head than a baseball cap with the bill turned backward. Goofy!
As far as becoming a better loser. Someone said it right, "A good loser is a loser". Stay mad cam!

Anonymous said...

If Cam has more games like this past week and continues to be among the league leaders in turnovers, I think DeMarco Murray might have a shot at OROY. He's earned the job over Felix Jones and has been running brilliantly for the Cowboys, helping in their resurgence.

Anonymous said...

when the helmet is off, he covers his shrek ears with a towel.

I'd do the same.

don't over analyze everything going on, we need a few yrs.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to focus for a moment and commend QB Jimmy Clausen on his sideline demeanor...he is helpful and supportive to his teammates and is always reviewing past plays. I think we should all agree that each move that Jimmy makes could be characterized as full of teamwork. Wouldn't you agree?

Uh, you mean you haven't watched Jimmy on the sideline? Seriously?

You mean because Jimmy hasn't played all year, you haven't analyzed every step he's taken?

Oh, so you mean that if Cam Newton had not had the most brilliant rookie start at QB since Peyton Manning, we wouldn't be desperately trying to find something to pick him apart?

If only he could be more like Jimmy!

Jeyone75 said...

Good post anon 1:44pm!, lol, yeah lil Jimmy is such a good helper, lmao!

RE: Anon 1:34pm, spoken like a true, bonefide, delusional Cowgirl fan. It took me a moment to realize who the heck DeMarco Murray is, which proves why he shouldn't even be mentioned in the conversation for ROY, to suggest otherwise is just comical.

Jeyone75 said...

I popped in a tape of last year's Panthers/Bears game (the Peppers homecoming game) with lil Jimmy starting at qb, you want to talk about a disaser...On the first drive of that game, Fox ran the ball every single time, not even one pass attempted, ended with a field goal. And when lil Jimmy did attempt a pass, Peppers tipped it and it was intercepted. Lil Jimmy didn't even complete a pass until late in the 2nd quarter and he never led them to a touchdown in the game. I never thought I would say this but Jimmy is actually worst than Tim Tebow. Fast forward to this year and our local media is complaining about Cam Newton's rookie behavior on the sideline...he's not being enough of a sideline cheerleader Unbelievable! They should be complaining about Sherrod Martin's matador defense and tackling performance from last Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Scott, you're absolutely right, and might I add, if Newton refuses to change then he'll be limited as far as being an NFL QB. His teammates follow his lead right now, but if he never matures they'll eventually quit looking at him as their leader of the offense and team. Even talent will over come a team that has lost respect fir their QB.

Anonymous said...

He needs to be able to take the field in confidence knowing the defense has his back and will stand strong in not allowing the other team to move the ball ending in a TD on their every drive. This kid deserves this.

Mike said...

But it's ok after he scores to put the towel on his head? He had the towel on his head when we won those two games, is that not ok? Personally, I think that leaders show by actions, not by picking up pom poms and waving them in the air on the sidelines. The kid is nothing but a leader when he steps on that field. Did anyone else see when he yelled at the coaches to get the play in? Anyways, I think someone else hit it right on the head. Nobody expected what he has done through the first half of the season so you've got to find something to criticize him about and if a towel over his head is what you come up with, you need to get a life! Everyone says #89 is a leader and where do you see him when he's not on the field? Right on the bench. Get over yourselves!

Anonymous said...

Being a Bama fan I was not particularly excited about having Cam on our team but now that he's here I must say that I have been very impressed with the way he's handled things. He was been appropriately polite and humble, he worked hard at building relationships with team members early on and they seem to have great respect for him. They are quick to have his back when questioned by reporters that appear to be trying to insinuate things that may or may not be fact. He seems knowledgable and much more mature than other rookies that have come through here. He has impressed me and for the most part won my support. I don't especially care for the towel thing but at the same time I see a lot of players on other teams, including other Qb that do it and I think way too much is being made of it. I like his attitude that he's very upset about losing. I don't like that our offensive line seems to be slacking in the last couple of games on protecting him. The half hearted attempts at tackling by the defense is embarrassing and they should be embarrassed when they look at the film. A line of little old grandmothers could have done better at protecting Cam than his offensive line is doing. It's offensive to me and it should be offensive to them. We have way too many players who seem to be playing half-heartedly and it's unacceptable. If I was Coach I'd have their butts sitting on the bench until they decided if they want to play. It worked for Bear Bryant. If we're going to lose anyway it would be just as good to lose with some "names" cooling it on the bench and deciding how much being a part of the Panthers team really means to them. Yes, Smitty is angry about how the play is going, who can blame him. When he and a few others are out there laying it all out and others are just playing at being football players I certainly don't blame him from being angry. He is passionate about the game and some times it colors his action as it does others. The penalies, a vast majority of them committed by veterans,is absolutely unacceptable. I'm ready for some of these guys to decide they want to play or just retire, go home and watch it on TV.

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather be a sore loser than anything." That shows brillance and maturity Cam.

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather be a sore loser than anything." That shows brillance and maturity Cam.

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather be a sore loser than anything." That shows brillance and maturity Cam.

Anonymous said...

He did the towel thing at Auburn. He's done it all season here..starting with the first quarter of the first game. Atheletes are creatures of habit. If that's his thing, let him do it.

Anonymous said...

Is Scott Fowler measuring up under close in-house scrutiny or is he on the obviously thin-side for content.

I used to think he was way better than Tom Sorenson.

Now I just think he could possibly be more literate (aka a better writer). A compliment, of course, but not nearly a recommendation.

Vince Lombardi said...

Triple-posting so people will read your lame comment. That shows brillance and maturity Anonymous 5:04 (& 5:05).

Yeah the Panthers need a QB who laughs and jokes around on the sideline when we're getting pounded 30-3. Better get with the program Newton.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sad that Fowler cannot come up with better material than this. Why not be a real reporter and look at game film and tell us how many missed tackles each starting defender has had this year. Or perhaps you could ask Chris Gamble why he dropped into the fetal position when Hasselbeck was closing in on him after the interception last week. Sure wish Steve Reed was still writing @ Carolina Growl. We could get real Panther news there only to see it copied and posted by the Observer a day or two later.

Anonymous said...

Newton is NOT A LEADER.After the first 4 games of 400 plus yards,defenses have figured him out and now he is pouting instead of pumping his team up.I realize he is not used to losing,but his negative attitude is contageous,and with looking at a 4-12 season,it spreads to everyone in the organization and other teams can see it.

Anonymous said...

Fowler SUX as bad as Newton. Losers for losers belong together.

Anonymous said...

Gee whiz. Isnt this funny as hell.

They hyped a criminal to Mars in the worst loser franchise in history.

Now the truth is clear.
QB Tebow who just got a start after sitting the bench for 1.5 yrs is suddenly 4-1 and the Newton scambug cheat is 2-7.

Too funny.

Tebow got no hype and was never a scammer cheat liar pay for play felon crook with a crook Auburn who cheated to win and paid everyone off including the NCAA and Heisman idiots.

The sports writers and the Disturber are all a bunch of idiots like those who hyped this crook for 10 months and now make excuses blaming the team or past teams.

FACE IT

NEWTON IS A BUM LOSER !!!

YOU MEDIA RATS LOOK STUPID !!!

Anonymous said...

Who would have guessed that the Occupy Charlotte campers would wander over to the library to post such gibberish. Newton is the real deal and true Panther fans are estatic about his play. One game does not make a season and the last one was not too hot, I'll agree. But he has been an easy pick for rookie of the year.