QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
HT: 6-5, WT: 248, Born: 5-10-1989, College: Auburn, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 1
|Outlook • Career Statistics • Game Logs • Split Stats • Play-by-play • Latest News|
Average draft position
Current as of May 21st. [Full ADP list]Overall: R Cobb (37), V Jackson (38), Cam Newton (39), M Crabtree (40), V Cruz (41)
Position: T Brady (33-QB3), P Manning (35-QB4), Cam Newton (39 - QB5), M Ryan (45-QB6), C Kaepernick (49-QB7)
Click here for a comparison of these players.
Though Cam Newton didn't fulfill the lofty expectations of many fantasy owners during 2012, he still finished as the fourth-best fantasy quarterback in the NFL due to his combination of passing (280/425 for 3,869 yards, 19 TDs and 12 interceptions) and rushing (127/741/8) abilities, edging out Peyton Manning for fourth by nine fantasy points during 2012. He was strong down the stretch, with six multiple-TD games during the final eight contests of the regular season (two passing TDs week 10; two passing TDs, two rushing TDs week 12; three passing TDs week 13; two passing TDs, one rushing TD week 14; two passing TDs week 15; and one passing TD, with one rushing TD during week 16). New offensive coordinator Mike Shula was Newton's quarterback coach last year, and Newton credits Shula with helping create his strong finish during 2012. 'I think a lot of credit goes to him with me honing in to a lot of things that he's been coaching me up to do.' Newton noted on February 1, 2013. Newton has been a top-ten fantasy quarterback in both of his NFL seasons, and should be a fantasy force again during 2013.
|2||at Buffalo Bills|
|3||New York Giants|
|5||at Arizona Cardinals|
|6||at Minnesota Vikings|
|7||St. Louis Rams|
|8||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|10||at San Francisco 49ers|
|11||New England Patriots|
|12||at Miami Dolphins|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|14||at New Orleans Saints|
|15||New York Jets|
|16||New Orleans Saints|
|17||at Atlanta Falcons|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Cam Newton, despite passing for over 300 yards and producing some typical moments of magic at times, was overwhelmed by an active and disciplined Tampa Bay defensive front on Sunday. With the Panthers trailing 13-0 early, a pass-heavy approach put a lot of pressure on Newton, who was often forced to take the check down against a predominantly zone Tampa defense. Newton often tried to escape the pocket, but when flushed out he was quickly corralled by a Bucs defender. Newton had a good command of the offense and had several highlight plays, notably a 51-yard completion on a 9-route to Louis Murphy. However, his interceptions were costly ones. The first was an example of Newton’s overzealous mentality to make a play; he threw a pass to Brandon LaFell in the middle of the field, but his receiver was surrounded by Buccaneers. A good tip drill by CB Aqib Talib led to a pick. His second was a result of poor footwork and being under duress. Against Cover-1, Newton threw a high pass to Smith down the left sideline with CB Eric Wright pinning Smith to the boundary. The FS Ahmad Black flew over and picked it off, but the ball was left too far to the inside. Newton did fire a touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell, who was open in large part due to a coverage breakdown. In the red zone, Newton was used as a runner a couple of times, but each time he was met by a wall of Buccaneers – clearly, it was something they had game-planned for. Carolina must be a more balanced offense to allow Newton to flourish. Despite the loss, his prospects look good.
Week 2 - Cam Newton rebounded from the loss last week in style against the Saints, willing his team to a win with precision passing, sound progressions on his reads and a steady dose of the running game. The Panthers offensive game plan could not have been more different from Week 1. The zone-read option was a huge part of what they did, and Newton benefited with several big runs, including a load option play in the first quarter which went for 30+ yards. Newton played in control the entire game behind an offensive line that afforded him ample time. He tossed a touchdown pass to Jonathan Stewart on a throwback screen to get off the mark on the day, and later added a rushing touchdown on a QB Power play in the red zone. Newton did a good job of moving the defensive backs with his eyes for his chunk plays on offense, many of which went to reliable target Brandon LaFell. Newton’s lone error came on a failed option pitch in the red zone which was fumbled and recovered by the Saints. It came on 4th and inches, but it took points off the board. Overall, Newton looked every bit the top-five fantasy quarterback that he is.
Week 3 - Amid speculation that the Panthers are privately concerned about Cam Newton’s mental make-up, Newton called this performance an ‘embarrassment’ and was chewed out by WR Steve Smith for his reaction on the sideline. In the game, Newton’s fortunes were not much better. The Panthers got behind quickly in this game, meaning the ground game had to be put aside. The Giants front four got after Newton and snuffed out QB runs and zone read plays very effectively. With the bread and butter of the Panthers’ offense taken away, Newton had to force some passes. In all, he threw three interceptions. The first was a ball fired a little behind WR Brandon LaFell after Newton failed to follow through his throwing motion. The ball was tipped and fell into the CB’s hands. The second was a throw down the middle of the field – perhaps ill-advised – picked off by LB Michael Boley, who was playing zone. The final interception was a red zone pick with only a couple of minutes left. Things snowballed for Newton, who made some decent throws despite the doom and gloom. He salvaged his fantasy value with a rushing touchdown in the second half. This was a game in which everything went wrong for the Panthers, so unless his play deteriorates horribly, continue to trust Newton as a top-five fantasy quarterback.
Week 4 - Cam Newton recovered from a three-interception display last week with a strong showing against the still-undefeated Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers stuck to their strength of running the football out of multiple looks, including the speed option, zone read (reading defensive ends, linebackers and safeties) and straight-up power concepts. Newton took the football on a 30-yard gallop in the first quarter on a zone read play, for example. Newton was afforded very good protection throughout the game and only had to move his feet when the Falcons brought five or more pass rushers. His decision-making was sound barring one or two ill-advised passes down the middle of the field in the two-minute drill. Newton delivered accurate passes to his receivers down the field consistently overall. He tossed his first touchdown pass of the game to Greg Olsen – lined up as a wide-out – on a hitch route. Steve Smith, in the slot beside Olsen, attracted the attention of the safety, allowing Newton to fire to Olsen. His tight end did the rest. Later, Newton showed off his red zone running abilities, carrying the football on consecutive plays to convert a third down and score a touchdown. Newton’s second touchdown pass came on a WR screen pass to the speedy Kealoha Pilares, who dashed ahead thanks to some good blocks for the score. Despite the defeat, Newton performed very well, was judicious in his use of the football and set a career-high single-game rushing total.
Week 5 - Cam Newton was constantly hassled and harried by a Seattle front seven that refused to quit in this game, resulting in one of his poorer showing of his young career. While Newton did manage to gain some yards with his feet, the successful attempts were few and far between. Seattle’s front seven simply dominated the point of attack and forced Newton into errant throws. Newton tried to escape the pocket on occasion and run for the first down, but was chased down from behind on both occasions. Newton could have thrown two or three picks in the first half had Seattle’s defensive players held on to his passes. Newton’s accuracy was poor in this game, and no play summed it up more than the missed touchdown pass in the waning moments. Set in the red zone, Newton faked to the back and rolled right. With two eligible receivers (both tight ends) at the back of the end zone wide open, Newton one-hopped the pass, essentially ending the game. The pressure seemed to get to Newton all game long, and one can’t help wonder if he felt the rush that wasn’t even there on this play. Seattle’s pass rush was dominant throughout and would have given any quarterback a hard time on this day, but the up and down nature of Carolina’s passing attack has to be a major concern.
Week 7 - Cam Newton continued his disappointing sophomore season with a decent display against the Cowboys on Sunday. Newton found himself under pressure often, possibly owing to the absence of stalwart center Ryan Kalil and the subsequent shuffling that affected the offensive line. Newton had to escape the pocket early on, and thanks to Dallas’ inability to keep outside contain on one occasion, Newton raced down the sideline for a sizeable gain. Newton had to throw in the face of interior pressure throughout the afternoon and did a good job resetting his feet and firing strikes when the throwing lanes opened. Most of Newton’s best passes came on play action off the zone read look, which Dallas’ linebackers had to respect. The Panthers would have a slot receiver sneak inside and run a post or square-in to take advantage. Newton was not used as a weapon in the red zone, the area where he threw his only interception of the day. Newton was immediately pressured up the middle and made the ill-advised decision to throw the ball as he was being taken to the ground. Opportunistic CB Morris Claiborne dove low for the easy pick. Newton erased that memory with a touchdown strike on a shallow cross to Brandon LaFell, also in the red zone. It was a smart decision by Newton, who saw LaFell break open – he was clearly not the first read on the play. In previous weeks, Newton had struggled to take the short completions and was ‘forcing’ things, said his coach Ron Rivera. This week saw progress in this area, as Newton spread the football around and was happy to take the check-down when it presented itself. The fact remains that something is amiss with this offense. Newton’s post-game comments alluding to OC Rob Chudzinski were revealing and a change could come.
Week 8 - There were times when Newton looked like the Newton from 2011. Other times, he looked as shaky as he has all season long. One thing which stood out to me in watching the game a few times is that his release point is all over the place. I first noticed it late in the first quarter. On a 2nd and 15 play, Newton threw towards Steve Smith who was on a short slant and pretty open. The pass was a worm-burner, low and at Smith’s feet. When you back up the game, you can see Newton’s release point is late and low—he’s throwing downwards. Over the next few plays, he releases high and really high. There are lots of reasons Newton is struggling—mechanics seem to be a real culprit in terms of his accuracy though. Newton got lucky a few times, most notably on the touchdown at the start of the second quarter. The play was a delayed quarterback run, and Newton did a great job selling that he was going to pass. He ran, got the first down and was on his way to a touchdown when tackled. He might have made it in but we’ll never know because he was holding the ball like a loaf of bread, so it was easily punched out by Bears safety Major Wright. Luckily for Newton, the ball was recovered in the end zone by his own player. He wasn’t lucky on his first interception, though. Under pressure, Newton tried to throw the ball away, near a receiver, but really he was just dumping the ball to avoid the sack. Bears defensive back Tim Jennings made a ridiculous dive for the ball and intercepted the pass. Maybe Newton should have thrown it harder and further out of bounds, but Jennings made a huge play intercepting that ball. There are a lot of issues with this offense. The offensive line is streaky, and were not good at run blocking Sunday, the play calling was all over the place. However a lot of Newton’s issues on Sunday seemed to be mechanical in nature, either not setting his feet, bad release points, hurried throws for no reason—all contributed to some huge missed opportunities in the passing game for Cam Newton.
Week 9 - Cam Newton, without being spectacular, played a solid game against the Redskins. Newton is still missing open receivers on passes he should be completing easily, but at the same time he is firing frozen ropes off his back foot to the far hash as well. Newton’s up and down mechanics contribute to this; often he feels pressure when there is none and doesn’t step fully into his throws. Considering the good job the pass protection did, this was strange to see. Newton got the nod on the goal line late in the game and he finished the drive, diving in for a short-yardage touchdown. The Panthers returned to some zone read looks throughout the game, with Newton making the correct read for the most part. Newton’s lone touchdown pass came on a beautifully lofted fade pass to Steve Smith, who went over the defender to make the play. All in all, it was a controlled game plan by the Panthers’ offense that kept Newton in manageable situations. Newton was efficient off play action shots and did not turn the football over, a positive sign as he continues his growth as a player.
Week 10 - Cam Newton was battered and bruised by a Broncos defense that did not let up the entire game and exposed the Panthers’ pass protection time and time again. After keeping the Broncos off balance with some clever play-calling, once they fell behind Newton had no chance in the pocket, often having to roll out and take sacks when the downfield options were covered. Elvis Dumervil forced a fumble late on that Newton somehow managed to recover. This threat of being hit and hurried flustered Newton as the game wore on. Most of Newton’s biggest plays in terms of yardage came on well-executed screen passes to his backs. Although Newton tried to go downfield, the Broncos defensive backs blanketed the receivers so well that there was no window to throw into. Newton tossed his first touchdown pass after a methodical drive, finding Greg Olsen sneaking out the backside of the play in the red zone after he faked a down block. It was one of the easiest touchdown passes Newton will ever have – the Broncos defense simply lost him. The turning point of the contest was a pick-six Newton threw after the Panthers had just recovered a fumble. Feeling the rush, Newton rolled to his left and threw an ill-advised pass to his receiver on the sideline. The CB had a beat on it, however, and drove on the football for an easy score. It was not dissimilar to Newton’s pick at the end of the second quarter against the Chicago Bears. Once the Panthers trailed by a large margin, Newton tried his hardest to get into a rhythm offensively, but it wasn’t happening – the Panthers were 0/11 on third down through four and a half quarters. Newton tossed a consolation touchdown pass in the fourth, again to favourite target Olsen and again in the red zone. Olsen ran a shallow cross, escaping the LB in coverage and cleverly reaching the ball out over the goal line as he was being tackled. Newton’s day ended with another interception, almost this was a forced pass down the middle with less than two minutes that was tipped into the air by his own receiver and into the grateful arms of a Broncos S. The Panthers’ pass protection really let him down in this contest, but his level of play in terms of accuracy and pocket presence is still not where it needs to be.
Week 11 - Cam Newton showed some signs of improvement from last week’s rather inauspicious display against Denver when he was sacked seven times. The offensive line is the root of all the Panthers’ problems, but Newton was more willing to escape the pocket and felt pressure much better this week. He stepped up and delivered the football on time – not all were completions, but the progression was there to see. Newton had a turnover-free day, but a key completion on third down in the fourth quarter on an out pattern to Louis Murphy was a very risky throw and could easily have gone the other way for six. Newton’s bad habits still haunt him to an extent – poor footwork, lazy mechanics and by extension, accuracy. Newton went back to his bread and butter in this game, simply running the ball himself when no receiver came open. On one 13-yard scramble, Newton juked a defender out of his shoes and left him for dead. It was reminiscent of 2011 Newton. Newton thrives off play action, and this is how his only touchdown pass of the day came about. Brandon LaFell got a clean release in the slot, and the pause that the fake gave the linebackers allowed Newton to fire a laser to LaFell over their heads. Newton’s comfort level seemed to improve as the game progressed; he found Steve Smith with an accurate, zipped pass as he rolled out of the pocket. Newton’s main issue is his offensive line, which is giving him little time to survey the field. However, part of that is on him; he must release the football more quickly. Overall, it was an encouraging display from Newton despite the loss.
Week 12 - Cam Newton reminded us all what he is capable of on Monday night in Philadelphia with a four-touchdown display. The offense still revolves around the zone read concepts – and it seems OC Rob Chudzinski will stick to these – but Newton executed his fakes very well in this game, bamboozling an overpursuing Eagles defense. At times, Newton showed outstanding touch on his passes, including on a 23-yard pass to Greg Olsen as he was being pressured in the pocket. However, Newton still has moments that make you question his ability to make stick throws, namely a pair of inaccurate balls to Brandon LaFell in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half. In the red zone, Newton became the primary ball carrier; on two occasions, he followed his pulling guard or tight end and powered the football into the end zone. This is an aspect of the offense that teams have been game planning for defensively, but good execution and effort meant they paid off this time. Newton tossed two touchdown passes to cap off a great statistical outing. The first came on a sluggo-seam concept. Newton pumped the slant and go to Steve Smith wide, then came back to his tight end Gary Barnidge running a seam route. The Eagles brought a blitz on the play, and playing Cover-3, no defender picked up Barnidge, leaving him unimpeded to the end zone. Newton’s second touchdown pass came on a similar pass for 43 yards to Brandon LaFell, who was also left wide open by the Eagles’ defense. Newton continues to struggle in some areas, but his legs kept many drives alive. If he can improve his accuracy and if he continues to excel off play action as he does, he can be an upper echelon passer.
Week 13 - Cam Newton delivered yet another explosive performance against the Chiefs, following up his dynamic display on Monday Night Football. For the most part, Newton was comfortable in the pocket with the Panthers keeping in extra backs and tight ends to block against the underrated Chiefs pass rush. At times, his footwork let him down as it did in previous weeks, notably on a couple of straightforward screen passes to the outside. Newton was able to establish a rapport with number one target Steve Smith, especially after an injury to a Chiefs’ starting cornerback. Newton exploited this mismatch on his second touchdown pass, a nicely-floated 23-yard strike down the left sideline. What was impressive in the play was how Newton manipulated the FS by looking right, then throwing left. This kind of eye-faking is something that hasn’t become a staple of Newton’s game, but it is an area he can definitely use effectively. Prior to that, Newton found TE Greg Olsen down the seam off play action – where Newton thrives as a passer – after a defensive breakdown. Seeing the error, Newton immediately pounced on it and let Olsen do the rest for a 47-yard score. The nuances of Newton’s game took a step forward, as he was able to take the check down and make more mature decisions with the football in pressure situations. His ball placement on a deep out to Smith was absolutely perfect and lauded by commentator Mike Martz for its velocity. Newton was let down by a horrible drop by Brandon LaFell in the second half. LaFell dropped a sure touchdown as he stood merely five yards from the end zone. Newton made the correct read on the play as the Chiefs were blitzing and he had a one-on-one match-up with LaFell vs. a safety. Newton managed to gain 78 yards on the ground in addition to his three-touchdown passing display. The read option fooled the Chiefs on many occasions and Newton blasted through gaps, made tacklers miss and looked dangerous on each of his carries. This is not the best Newton can play – there are still aspects of his game he needs to tweak – but it is close.
Week 14 - Cam Newton carried on his excellent streak of turnover-free games with a performance that oozed of maturity and the kind of star qualities that he has. Compared to previous weeks, the offensive line – despite an injury to RG Geoff Hangartner – kept Newton clean for most of the game, even when Atlanta brought 4+ pass rushers. Even when Atlanta got home, Newton was able to escape a sack on one occasion when it looked for all the world that he was ‘in the grass’. Newton spun out of the grasp of DE Kroy Biermann and turned what could have been a negative play into a 13-yard scramble for a first down. Newton kept a level head throughout the game and seemed more calm than usual. His footwork was sound and he stepped into his downfield throws, which he attempted often with good success. He will be disappointed to have missed a wide open Louis Murphy on an out-and-up in the second quarter, however. Newton excelled off play action, as the Panthers’ rushing attack clicked enough to make Atlanta respect it. He fired beautiful passes into tight windows on digs, crossing routes, outs, comebacks and hitches. Newton’s decision-making could not be questioned; if his execution can improve in certain key areas (the red zone, for example), the Panthers can turn a 30-point outing into a 40-point one. Newton got into rhythm early, finding his TE Greg Olsen for his first touchdown pass at the end of a well-worked drive. Olsen ran a seam pattern and blew past the safety in coverage; what was impressive was Newton’s pass. Seeing the size mismatch between Olsen and the DB, Newton tossed a pass high to the back line of the end zone. Olsen reeled it in impressively, but the touch Newton display was a thing of beauty. Newton tossed a screen pass in the final moments for a 53-yard score to DeAngelo Williams, who did most of the work himself after some good blocks to set him up. Newton electrified the crowd and the football world with a 72-yard touchdown run off the zone read. The DE Newton was reading on the play completely sold out for the inside run, allowing Newton to sprint up the left sideline. Steve Smith made a great block on the CB to spring his quarterback for the final few yards. It rounded off a very competent performance from Newton, who seems to be maturing as a passer these past few weeks.
Week 15 - Newton turned in a rare highlight-free performance in this game, simply playing efficiently and effectively in leading his team to a convincing road victory. Despite the Charger pass defense putting him under pressure most of the afternoon, Newton stood tall in the pocket and looked confident in his passes and footwork. On the rare occasion the Chargers took him down, it wasn’t without a fight. On one particular play, he was under heavy pressure and appeared to be getting sacked by the Chargers team picture, only to flip the ball out to RB Mike Tolbert for a nice 13-yard gain. He had earlier come close to connecting with Tolbert for a touchdown near the goal line, but the pass to a wide open Tolbert in the flat was batted down at the line. Which brings up the fact that Newton did catch a couple of breaks and did not play a flawless game. He nearly got intercepted late in the game on a pass over the middle that was just knocked down instead. On an earlier play, he was hit as he threw and the ball popped straight up in the air. Despite landing in the middle of the field, nobody on the San Diego defense was able to get to it. He was also fortunate on the touchdown pass to Williams that the score even happened at all. The pass was initially deflected, but still managed to make its way to Williams (who did the rest, taking off for a 45-yard touchdown scamper). He also took a couple of big hits in the game, one coming on a play on which he nearly scored. A designed draw run play up the middle saw him taken down at the 2-yard line. More importantly, replays showed later on that his knee was being looked at on the sideline and he appeared to be in considerable pain. Backup QB Derek Anderson was seen warming up on the sideline at one point, but Newton remained in the game. Newton later injured his hand, banging it on a helmet as he completed his follow through, but again he remained in the game. WR Steve Smith was Newton’s favorite target in the game, and the two connected on a beautiful touchdown late in the game. Smith broke out to the right side of the end zone, and Newton, rolling out of the pocket, placed a ball low and away that only Smith could get to. With phenomenal ball skills, Smith cradles in the pass for the score and Newton’s second touchdown of the game. One can safely say that the big Carolina lead actually hurt Newton’s chances to put up huge stats, since he threw 27 passes in the first half and just 6 after halftime.
Week 16 - Cam Newton was harried and hurried by a Raiders’ defense that seemed to be targeting him at times. However, the second year quarterback’s reactions were less than encouraging. Newton found his rhythm early and was impressive with his subtle footwork in the pocket to buy time and space to find his receivers downfield. When nothing was there, Newton tucked and ran, notably a 29-yard scamper that electrified the crowd. In the red zone, seeing no-one open, Newton repeated the trick and ran left end for a score. As the game wore on, Newton’s footwork disimproved owing to the pressure put on by Oakland’s front four and an offensive line shuffle that went on after LG Amini Silatolu went down. Newton threw some inaccurate passes as a result, leaving Steve Smith out to dry on a WR screen with a high ball. Newton threw his first pick in over 150 attempts as a pass down the middle was tipped into the air by a Raider LB. It then landed in the hands of LB Miles Burris. Newton hit Steve Smith for a touchdown pass earlier in the game, looping the pass beautifully over the defender in coverage to the back right corner of the end zone as he rolled out to the right. Newton was often forced to move around and escape the pocket with his offensive line struggling, and he did this to good effect. The immature outbursts – including ‘contacting an official’ – notwithstanding, it was a decent performance from Newton.
Week 17 - Cam Newton’s development over the past few weeks as a pocket passer has been on a steady upward trend. More and more, Newton is displaying traits of a veteran passer. Notably, he has improved his footwork and decision-making. Against the Saints, all these attributes were on show again as he made a quick start. His athleticism was also evident on a beautiful Houdini-like spin move to escape a sack. Newton did get away with a couple of errant throws when he was forced to flush out of the pocket, including a sideline throw intended for Greg Olsen that the defensive back had a beat on and should probably have stepped in front of. When Newton made a costly error – a pick six – his response was encouraging. The interception came on a play that OC Rob Chudzinski has made a staple of his offense, the pump half-back screen. As Newton pumped one way and spun to throw the football to DeAngelo Williams, LB Jonathan Vilma jumped the route and had a walk-in touchdown. In Newton’s defence, he had no time to adjust to Vilma closing in before the pass was thrown; it was a split-second decision. Newton’s legs played a big part in the Panthers’ offensive success; on more than one occasion, he saw nothing open downfield, tucked the ball and ran, often bravely and perhaps a little recklessly. Considering the patchwork offensive line that Newton is playing behind, his ability to make plays down the field and remain poised is fantastic to watch.