It took five wins and an MVP like performance from Cam Newton to finally get the NFL to look out for the Carolina Panthers.
After winning the last four games of the 2014 season and getting a playoff win, there was a lot of optimism in Carolina about the future of the Panthers. However after the torn ACL of number one wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, most football “experts” left the Panthers for dead. With Cam Newton in control of the offense, they were never out of it.
Well the Panthers are now 5-0 and a top the NFC South. Newton has 1,078 passing yards with a 55.4 completion percentage. He has 8 passing touchdowns to only 4 interceptions, as well as 225 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. He has been everything for this offense that would be dead last in almost every offensive category without superman.
With Ted Ginn Jr. and Philly Brown as the top receiving options, Newton relied on his running ability and playing it smart when it came to passing. Newton had double digit run attempts in 3 of the first 4 games of the season. Newton carried the offense enough to where the dominant defense could take over.
Against the Seattle Seahawks, Newton was a different quarterback. He was calm, poised, and made smart decisions on when to get out of the pocket and run, and when to stay patient and throw. It was nice to see such an MVP like performance considering Newton was 0-4 against Seattle heading into the matchup.
Newton was 20/36 269 yards and had both a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. The game winning touchdown to Greg Olsen was probably the best moment in Newton’s career. Having that clutch gene separates elite quarterbacks from very good quarterbacks. Newton has 9 fourth quarter comebacks. I think he let everyone know what category he is in.
His throwing has improved dramatically. Instead of stepping into every throw with as much power as possible, Newton knew when to have just the right amount of speed and touch on each pass to make it a catchable throw for his receivers who need as much help as they can get.
Newton is in the top ten quarterback ranking on Pro Football Focus, he is finally getting the attention of the media for more than his flashy 30 yard runs.
The Panthers running attack has also improved a lot more thanks to the threat of Cam Newton taking off at any time. The read option has been a huge aspect of the Panthers offense since Cam was drafted in 2011, Newton and Stewart have combined for the leagues 3rd best rushing attack.
Against Seattle last week, Newton tied Michael Vick for most rushing touchdowns of all time with 33 in his short career.
With Newton being such a key factor in every aspect of the offense, and considering that the Panthers are 5-0 and in control of potentially winning a third straight NFC South title (which has never been done), it is hard to vote for somebody else as the most valuable player in the NFL. What other team relies on a player as much as the Panthers do with Newton? Isn’t that what the MVP trophy is all about? I don’t think it is a popularity contest but that is how the NFL treats it.
Opinion: If I was starting a franchise right now and had to choose one quarterback, it would be Cam Newton. At 6’5 and 246 pounds, you couldn’t build a more perfect quarterback. Yes most fans and football analysts love to throw around the poster children in Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, but what Newton gives an offense is truly unique. Build a great defense around him like the Panthers have and you have yourself a Super Bowl contending team.