Im tired of off-the-field Cam Newton. We review his performance at the lectern every week as if hes singing on a reality TV show.
Cam was sad and morose and, oh yeah, pitchy.
He was criticized for his news conference after the loss to Dallas last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. I was in front of him. I didnt think he condescended to the reporter he called sweetheart. I think it probably is a term he uses in real life. I think it would be condescending only if he had said it to a male reporter.
When Newton talked about the suggestion box, I construed it to mean he didnt have the answers and would welcome ideas from those who did.
Newton complained that changes had to be made and the next morning general manager Marty Hurney was fired. I read in one national publication that the timing was not coincidental.
So to make Newton happy Panthers owner Jerry Richardson fired Hurney?
And if Newton complains about the Panthers statues outside Bank of America Stadium theyll be replaced with, what, Auburn Tigers, or models wearing Newtons new clothing line?
If Newton trips on the NFL shield painted on the Bank of America Stadium turf, the one safety Huruki Nakamura appears to guard when he stands 20 yards deeper than any other Panthers defensive back, you think Richardson will cover it with sod on Monday?
Hurney was fired because the owner was frustrated and because somebody had to pay for Carolinas dismal start. I doubt Hurney was Richardsons first choice. But it was Hurney who was jettisoned.
Newton is not playing well. He has nice moments, not good games.
Sometimes young quarterbacks hes 23 regress.
Leading the offense of Carolinas opponent Sunday is quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler has always been a talent. His arm is among the NFLs strongest. He often slumps. And he whines.
This season, he wins. Chicagos defense is tremendous, of course. But maybe, at 29, Cutler has finally figured out the various qualities the job requires. He hasnt pushed or berated an offensive lineman for more than a month.
The 2-4 Detroit Lions have probably the best receiver in football in Calvin Johnson. Yet quarterback Matthew Stafford has, like Newton, thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes. Stafford, the first player selected in the 2009 draft, is struggling. The offense doesnt work.
Stafford, 24, doesnt attract nearly the attention or criticism that Newton does.
Maybe Staffords podium presence is superior.
There are valid reasons to criticize Newton: He regularly misfires; he has yet to lead a late fourth-quarter game-winning drive; his team is 1-5.
Yet much of the criticism is manufactured and contrived. Its like ripping Ron Rivera for standing calmly on the sidelines when his team is losing. If the Panthers were 5-1, wed praise Rivera for his cool demeanor and the calming effect it has on his players, and next time we were in a nasty argument wed fold our arms.
When a team loses panic ensues.
Most of it comes from bleachers, bars and message boards.
Fans ought to be frustrated and angry and perhaps betrayed.
The Panthers have real issues. So why make them up?
When you do, you sound pitchy.