Friday, September 21, 2012

Steve Smith right on money with Cam Newton criticism

Anyone who has followed Steve Smith's 12-year history with the Carolina Panthers knows that the best player the team has ever employed is not always a paragon of virtue.

But the wide receiver was exactly right Thursday night to get into quarterback Cam Newton's face and tell him to stop sulking after Newton threw his third interception in the Panthers' 36-7 loss to the New York Giants.

Newton was benched after that interception -- the game was out of hand and coach Ron Rivera, who made that call, decided he didn't want Newton to take any more shots. Newton then sat down on the bench, which didn't sit well with Smith (who, like most of the Panther starters, would continue to play).

"I watched D.A. [Derek Anderson] and Jimmy (Clausen), they don't play in 20-something games last year. And they get up and they observe and learn and get those mental reps,” Smith said Friday. “I told him [Newton], 'You can get some mental reps or you can sit on that bench and sulk.'"

Smith also said Friday he used some "unchoice" words with Newton and that he "got onto" him and "lit into" him. And good for Smith, a team captain who is one of the people Newton most respects in the locker room. Newton staying immersed in his private pain isn't good for anybody. Hearing this from Smith will be much more effective than hearing it from the fans and media who have oftentimes criticized the same sort of behavior.

Newton wasn't available Friday to talk about this. Panther coach Ron Rivera was and basically said that the incident was between Newton and Smith and that he would deal with Newton in his own way, as he always does.

Newton did talk after the game Thursday. If you saw any of his postgame press conference, you know that his responses were sometimes close to inaudible and delivered in an eyes-closed monotone. At that time, Newton called the game "a performance of embarrassment" and also praised Smith, saying: "Smitty gave unbelievable effort today. We needed more guys with Smitty's mentality -- simple and plain."

Added Newton: "If I was a fan of the Carolina Panthers, I would be holding my head down in shame of the product that was out there tonight."

Certainly, I'm not blaming all that loss on Newton, I'm not trying to pile onto him and I'm not saying Anderson should start -- Newton is the quarterback who can lead this team to great heights.

But with his talent comes great responsibility, too. When you're the quarterback and likely the team's best athlete, too, other players are looking to you for leadership in the most difficult times, and games like this are among those. Newton is charismatic and Superman-esque when he wins and everybody loves him, but he's too often a poor loser when he loses.

Newton is 23 years old, not 13.

He needs to start acting like it.

35 comments:

Lance said...

Newton needs to spend more time watching film: of great quarterbacks and how they handle adversity on the field.

Watch how the last 6-10 super bowl quarterbacks manage bad times. Then he'll learn to lead. Admittedly at 23 that is a work in progress, but its a good start.

GW said...

Outstanding article! I absolutely loved your comments about Newton & Smitty! It's dead on! I commented about the same thing when I watched the post game interviews of Newton & Smitty. Another thing, when your team is down by 23 points and YOU score a TD, don't pull the "Superman" celebration! Hand the ball to the ref like you've been there before when you're getting whipped! That sends a message without words or actions that you and the team are going to do it again! Celebrating a TD when you're down by 16 after the score, is not the way to go. Show some leadership! Thank God Smitty is there as is the true leader and also believe he's the one to get Newton sorted out as he's been there and done that and learned from his own mistakes of his past! What a long way Smitty has come!

Unknown said...

Amen to Scott and to Steve Smith. The most embarrassing part was when Eli walked out to shake hands, Cam kept his head down and that towel on his head, didn't look up and didn't appear to even shake hands. How childish. I am a fan and will continue to be one but that attitude is terrible. The superman act was also a bit much considering the score of the game at the time of the lone touchdown.

Anonymous said...

We've not only got a QB that's very intellectually immature and limited, but a pathetic leader as a coach. Can you imagine, not how many games, but how many minutes Tom Coughlin would have tolerated this head in the towel, superman attitude?

Anonymous said...

You are right on the money as usual Scott. Cam has to grow up. I personally think he is too full of himself and doesn't really care about the Panthers. He just wants to get his own stats. Let's see what happens when his contract is up. I'll bet he leaves for greener pastures. Lord knows the team will never be any good with Hurney and JR pulling the strings. Not too high on Rivera either, but it starts with Hurney and JR.

Anonymous said...

Manning was on the sideline the entire game looking at formations and sets with the offensive coordinator when he was not on the field. When Cam was on the sideline and the coach had the printouts of the Giant's D's sets Cam ignored him and did not bother with looking at them... Talent alone will not get it done in the NFL which may stand for Not For Long if he keeps up the pouting and does not prepare as a professional. Time to grow up!

T. Anti Hurney said...

Let's face it, Cam is so spoiled by success due to his outrageous physical gifts, that he's never had to think like most quarterbacks. And he needs to learn that fast in the NFL. He's got to realize he can't force a pass into coverage. We're 0-11 when he throws an interception ...that's most of his pro games so far. I'm afraid that comment that he wants to be "an entertainer and icon" is way too telling on what he's about. All show when things go well, but hiding behind the curtain when it doesn't.

Stumbleweeds said...

STOP THE PRESSES!!!

Thank you Scott for saying something that we all know. Cam is a man by age, but still very much a boy in mentality. Please grow up soon young man!

Anonymous said...

That loss had nothing to do with Cam and more to do with our inability to get a pass rush and stop the Giants. Cam was forced to "make something happen" when playing from behind and we can't expect him to carry us on his back. Especially with no protection.

Anonymous said...

You know i worked at a bank that Cam Newton came into once. He just got drafted by Carolina and hadnt played yet. One of our bankers walked up to him and said hey we are glad you came here and congrats. his only comment through this interaction with an amazed fan was. "IT WAS NOT MY DECISION" . . and to this day i still see that attitude in Cam. he needs to grow up a lot still to make it in this league.

Anonymous said...

C'mon Scott, get Sorenson and you two whine about the refs. You've been doing it all week, yet not a word about Thursday's game.

Anonymous said...

Scott is right. Look at RG3. Just as young, but far more mature. And like someone said above, look at how Eli studies the game. I knew when Cam got down to the goal line on the first drive of the 2nd half (which, most likely, was scripted by the coaching staff) he'd call his own number for an easy score. Sure enough. And then the "Super Sham" act in the end zone when you're two scores down? C'mon, man!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Cam should do a 'sChAM wow' commericail. I mean he likes the towel..he uses it well.. I am not a fan of Sham Man...I always notice #1 when he is on sideline too.. he doesn't pay attention to the QB coach when going over previous plays.. Someone blasted me for saying this in open forum last year..I still stick by it.. He is very childish.. It's all about him ..not the team.. when Anderson finished..he went looking for Eli and Coach Coughlin..to shake hands..He and Clausen are always near by to listen to QB coach even when they know they aren't playing.. Eli.. went looking for Cam to shake his hand. I agree with another poster..Sham Man..kept the towel over his head and looked away. Very disrespectful..I would take Anderson any day ...I'd rather watch a mediocre player on the field with great team spirit..than a great QB that only celebrates himself.

Anonymous said...

Where were these articles when we had a quarterback acting like a 2 year old after he had thrown another interception? Let me explain something to all of you that keep talking about the still photos. The coach views the photos. Then he and Cam discuss the possession. That the way the Panthers have chosen to handle the situation. The fact that TV chooses not to show the interaction is not Cam's fault. It is also not his fault that the local media refuses to explain it so the fans will stop talking about it.

Anonymous said...

1Cam is not used to losing: simple and plain. The Carolina Panthers are.He is still very young. The guy is 23 not 13 I understand that. But honestly, how many of us act the same way now that we did when we were 23? He will learn and learn how to lose gracefully if he stays here, there will be no choice. This team will not go far if they don't deal with their losing mentality however. Any coach that doesnt teach their players to block and tackle...well thats a losing mentality. Im work in the sales field. Whenever we miss quotas, etc. we always go back to the basics. It's time for the Panthers to do the same.

Anonymous said...

who is steve smith to critize anybody about pouting???? i mean seriously...!!

Anonymous said...

Cam is a bust.

Anonymous said...

Who was laying into the defense? They are terrible!!! What about Beason, it's obvious he's a shell of himself right now.

Keith MagIlacutta said...

Scott,

Jordan Gross said it best. This should have stayed in the locker room . After Smith lit in Cam , he praised him in the press conference. What does Smith do? Run to the media and inform them what he did? How does this help the Team ? It was a selfish act by Smith to make Steve Smith look good . Now his QB is taking beating from the fan base and media . A fan base that for the most part wishes blonde eyed Jimmy Clausen could play or they could get Andrew Luck . They never liked him and never will . While Cam takes a beating no one is discussing the defense. Steve Smith is a snitch and no one in that locker room can trust him. When Khalil and Gross met with Cam , it was in PRIVATE. They did not run to the media . Steve Smith did . After Cam praised Smith , how do you think Cam feels when Smith pretty much gives red meat to a bunch hateful rabid pitbulls who hate Cam

Anonymous said...

A perfect, fall-like night; the city's skyline sparkling like a shiny jewel; prime-time exposure on national television; a packed house - revved-up and vocal; but then the game began.

Anonymous said...

No one seems to mention that Derek Anderson did a commendable job of moving the Panthers in the last two minutes -- several accurate, complete passes.

Cam ... I think he is approaching each play THINKING of the possible results ... instead of the play itself. I don't think he has it in his mind 'what he is going to try'. Then he doesn't seem to READ the defenses.

Superman in the end zone? CAN IT ... and don't revive it ... EVER. Put the ball down, high five the teammates who made it possible for HIM to score ... or to complete the pass. BE A LEADER.

Anonymous said...

Somebody tell Cam that we go as HE goes. We love him and have his back no matter what but I cannot defend immature, childish pouting and behavior like that. Don't shun the QB who beat you. Pat them on the back and lose gracefully. He's already admitted that this behavior is unacceptable so now he needs to change it once and for all. It's not good for the team. Last year I let it slide by your not a Rookie anymore Cam. Cut it out!! or I'm gonna get a T-shirt that says CUT IT OUT!! with a pic of Cam with that towel on his head

nadeltanz said...

Helpful comments for the whole team. Yes, Newton is going to have to do a persona change for the sake of his team...it will amount to many wins if he will and much less pain for him as well.

Anonymous said...

Cam is having a rough time early this year. But attacking him the way the press and Smith have is unfair. The guy is a winner. Two national championships in college and the best rookie year in the history of the league. He has overcome adversity in the past and he will do it again. If you really want to understand why the Panthers, as a team, and Cam, as a quarterback, are struggling, look at their rushing statistics. At Tampa Bay the team rushing average was .8 yards per carry. Any team that cannot at least present a threat to run is offering their quarterback up for lunch.

Anonymous said...

Scott you failed to mention that softball and that Steve smith speaks from experience. Obviously, assaulting two teammates early in his career, Steve has never been a distraction in the locker room (sarcasm). Can you say Pot & Kettle. GW Smitty is a true leader when things are well, but when things are not going well he either wants out or can be negative.

Anonymous said...

Cam's Superman thing reminds me of the guy who did the worm in the endzone during a rare touchdown during a Panther losing season. When the Panthers go above .500, okay rip open your shirt, but until then, stay dressed because you are nowhere near super. You're barely a professional - barely. Learn, grow, lead.

Chris Martin said...

Coach Rivera should've been the first one to light Cam Newton up for pouting like an 8 year old and also celebrating a meaningless touchdown like an 8 year old.

He is very Dom Capers like, hiding behind a headset, glasses and some crap piece of paper in his hand that you think he might die without. Where is the inebacker in him? Where is the fire? I don't see it and obviously the players don't either, therefore Smitty has to essentially lead the entire team.

So there "Coach", Smitty called Cam out, but now I am calling you out. If you want Smith to coach the team, please resign tonight and he will do it, and probably far better. Otherwise, get your sunglasses at night, headset wearing, paper grasping Dom Capers act and trash them all and be a real coach, a real leader and a real man.

Leave your costume and entrapments for Halloween and lead like Smith does. It's a damn shame I have to even tell you this.

Anonymous said...

Smith is jealous that he is not the top dog. When Cam did not acknowledge the bully , he went off and decided to run to the media to get their praise. Great job Smitty.You got the media , Cam haters ready to run this dude out of town , a 1 -2 team with talent issues. Great job for helping the team LEADER! Name one player he has helped on this team? All he does is attack players with his fist or in the media. When Clausen could not get him the ball , he was kicking his helment on the bench POUTING. I did not see Smith taking mental reps. Shame on you Scott for siding with the hateful Cam Newton haters.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Scott. I love Cam Newton, and am glad he is our quarterback, but this was SPOT ON. And good for Steve Smith for not only saying it, but letting the public know it had been said. He is right - if he was afraid to address it, who would? We know from last season it won't be Ron Rivera. The O-line tried, but Cam was getting such adulation from the national media, his coaches and the online tweets & posts, that he somehow felt justified in blowing it off. But he has been here long enough to know that it is hard to blow off Steve Smith. No one works harder, no one cares more, and what he says - good or bad - comes from his heart. He does his job EVERY week to the best of his ability, and has rightfully earned the respect of the locker room and the fanbase ... even after a shaky start of his own, attitude-wise. He is truly the best mentor in this situation because he has been there. God bless #89....I know he is pulling for Cam's success as much as I am.

Anonymous said...

Lose gracefully? Stop pouting? Can you imagine Vince Lombardi hearing such drivel? He would be looking to put Cam anywhere he can, offense defense, etc. You want to be a leader Smitty? Go back to fielding punts and kickoffs, you were the best return man outside of Michael Bates that we ever had.. If Smity won't, how about Deangelo? He excelled at it in college didn't he?

Anonymous said...

I really think Cam was just trying to get the crowd back into the game when he did his Super Cam thing. I had no problem with it. I think Cam will be just fine. Keep in mind that he is 23. I am a whole lot mature now than I was at 23. This kid has a lot on his plate and he isn't used to losing. I think the fact that he is his own worst critic is a huge asset to the Panthers in the long run. I just hope our lame fans don't all start jumping ship because the Panthers laid a stinker the other night. There are 13 games left. The next one is huge and I think if you looked at our schedule before the year and were offered a 2-2 start most would have taken that. They have a ton of time to prepare for the Falcons. Hopefully, they will bounce back next Sunday.

Anonymous said...

I love how some of the fans on here who are piling on Cam were cheering him on a week ago.

He is a young QB in a town that worships him - he is going to act like this from time to time. Does that make it right? No. But, he will learn from this and move on.

Cam isnt the only one to blame - the coaches failed to prepare this team for this game. Remember the defensive failures? The 2 botched ST plays? The use of a punt returner for kickoffs? Yeah, that is COACHING, not CAM.

Great article Scott - I wish you would do one on how immature some of our fans are.

Anonymous said...

He'll get there. I think he is going through much of what LeBron has dealt with in the NBA. Unbelievable talent at a young age and a string of crazy success as well. But that doesn't teach you how to lead. Time does. LeBron used to be a terrible leader, maybe the worst. Now he finally gets it. Cam will too.

bbcatzfan said...

Rivera was right on. This should be more between the players and coaches. Rivera knows how to deal with players attitudes as well as the veterans like Smitty. Let those guys work it our among themselves. We have made way too much of this thing. We shouldn't be talking about it because we are not the one's taking the heat. It's our job as fans to just keep pounding the cheers like Panther Thunder. We as fans need to let the coaches coach.

Anonymous said...

Cam Newton, you are a tremendously gifted football player. That is obvious. However, with all of your physical gifts, do not display a Jamarcus Russell type of mentality. If you are going to lead, then LEAD! Not just by your play on the field but by your reprensentation off it. You've got to be better than that! Period!