Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rivera: Cam like a different person

Here's a preview of my column for Friday's newspaper and online:

After quarterback Cam Newton had what I consider to be the best rookie season by any NFL player at any position, you might think the Carolina Panthers wouldn’t want him to change one bit.

In fact, however, they are excited that he seems a little different. Listen to Panther coach Ron Rivera, who talked with Newton this week after the veteran players reported back to Bank of America Stadium Monday for offseason workouts.

“I had a chance to visit with him briefly and he seems like a different person,” Rivera said Thursday. “He seems more mature, in terms of ready to take some leadership roles.”

A different person? That’s a strong statement. And that, to me, was one of the most interesting things said when the Panthers held their annual pre-draft news conference Thursday.

Now this is me saying this and not Rivera, but I’d say the Panthers got just about everything they could possibly have imagined out of Newton in 2011 – except for consistent leadership.

Back to Rivera on Newton: “Last year he was very respectful of our leadership and our veteran players. And I think he looks at himself, as he should, as a mature veteran player that can really help this football team ascend. And I’m pretty excited about that for him.”

Newton was an absolute stunner last season. He accounted for 35 touchdowns (14 rushing, 21 passing) – the most TDs by a rookie in NFL history. His strong work ethic was a pleasant surprise. And at 6-5 and 248 pounds, he ran through and over enough defensive backs that he started making players think twice about where and how to tackle him once he got past a defense’s first level.

“There are guys out there in the back half of NFL defenses making business decisions at that point,” ESPN’s Herm Edwards, a former NFL player and coach for 30 years, told me once. “They’re going, ‘I don’t really want to tackle this guy.’ Cam is a whole different sort of cat. His athleticism is just like, ‘Really?! Really?!’”

But Newton also had a tendency to look like he was brooding on the sidelines, shielding his head with a Gatorade towel, when things were going poorly for a team that ended up 6-10. He could get so involved in his private pain that he had a hard time shaking his whole team by the shoulder pads and saying, “C’mon! We’re going to fix this.”

Read more on this topic -- and on the Panthers' draft prospects with the No.9 pick -- in Friday's Charlotte Observer and online all the time at


Cam Fan said...

Cam has a real chance at becoming the greatest NFL quarterback of all time.

Anonymous said...


tony said...

Give it a rest Mr Fowler. Can you go more than a week without writing about what seems to be an obsessive man crush on Cam Newton? I mean if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were a stalker.I know the Bobcats don't give you much to write about but surely there's something else out there to talk about in Charlotte sports these days. How is the Knights new stadium progressing? Will Jordan sell the team? Will Ric Flair make a comeback? Come on Scott, think.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great! I'm glad he's accepting a leadership role like the star of a team should. Unlike that slackard, J.Peppers, who PUBLICLY rejected Jerry Richardson's encouragement to be more of a team leader. We certainly don't miss Pepper's sorry attitude. GO CAM!

Anonymous said...

Stay hungry Cam.. And go Charlotte Hornets

Anonymous said...

@ tony April 19, 2012 9:00 PM

Point taken, however, there are also plenty of other things you can read about in the Observer. No one held a gun to your head and forced you to read Scott's article. C'mon tony, THINK !

seth said...

I agree with Tony. Fowler's articles are overkill. Charlotte must really be hard up for a good sports story these days.

Anonymous said...

It's Cam's team now, everyone knows it, and everyone on the team, including the veterans, have (more than) bought into it.

It hasn't been this exciting to be a Panther fan since February 2004.

Anonymous said...

Next article for Scott

"Cam Newton - Boxers or Briefs?"

pantherlife said...

people are on to you as well, caps and bad spelling will not get your point across..go panthers

Michael Procton said...

I don't care if he's a different person. I'd like him to be a different QB, one who doesn't throw away every chance this mediocre team will have to win games with his careless turnovers.

Eleta said...

Anonymous, you seems awfully caught up in what happens to Cam Newton for a non-fan. You must be one of those pathetic people who believed every rumor and lie told about Cam when he was at Auburn. NOTHING was ever or will ever be proven, because he was totally innocent, as was Auburn. You just sound jealous to me. Cam was in Auburn last week-end for the unveiling of the statues of him, Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson, Auburn's 3 Heisman Trophy winners. As a side note, they also unveiled a bust of John Heisman, as Auburn is the only college to ever win the trophy named for him, and for which he coached. Cam is the genuine article, and we appreciate him totally. Most of us are now Panther fans because of Cam. Why don't you stop your negativity and go to stories about teams you do care about. War Eagle and Go Panthers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Fowler,

Please do your research more thoroughly on a players "weakness" before having a good article with some pepper on the end.

Cam's idol is Michael Jordan, what did Jordan do on the bench, put a towel on his head, everyone that thinks he is pouting is ignorant to the facts about Newton. Much like Lebron wore #23 in Cleveland.

Want to talk about his true weaknesses, footwork, a lot of his inaccurate throws were because of errors in his footwork or bad rookie decision making, to b expected with virtually no offseason to prep on top of being a rookie, look for both of these areas to be much improved in 2012.

#2 Leadership, in interviews he said he did not want to over exert being a rookie and let the veteran leaders lead while he took notes. Now he is ready to grab the team by the horns with his confidence and his insatiable appetite for winning.

Anonymous said...

Yea but tall thin Cam wears extra padding in games can now bench at least 200 lbs & almost squat 200. He is not that weak.
We wished he would have played basketball or tennis instead or maybe even golf but hopefully they will make him a reciever if he messes up. He can run pretty fast.

Anonymous said...

For all Tebow Jet fans you can get a good deal for a brand new nice Jet Tebow jersey for less than 1/3 of the price of a Newton jersey.

$31.99 total price !!!!


Anonymous said...

Official former killer at Bama and now Saints strong saftey great Roman Harper jerseys at only:


WOW !!!!

GO SAINTS !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not naming names but are some stoolies trying to turn the NFL into tag football to protect some TE pretending to be a QB but killing the game? Isnt the game already damaged?

Does anybody like backstabber squealer rat snitches? Is somebody scared and jealous of some top ranked rugged killer defense just doing their job?

Do these snitches really think they can get away with it like everything else by sucking up to and squealing to Goodell?

Do they really think they can control the NFL and union? That payback gonna be rough. Who the hell do they think they are anyway with that bigheaded ego mess?

xsigned: 5 mill black & gold Big Easy fans collectively damanding revenge.