Fox Sports-talk host Colin Cowherd criticized Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton Friday, saying “running is an easy, lazier way to play quarterback.”
Eight hours later, the Panthers’ official Twitter account bit back. About 9:30 Friday night, the Panthers replied to Cowherd, “Hot takes are the easier, lazier way to cover sports.”
Cowherd, who does both radio and television sports commentary, has made a career of blunt, sometimes harsh, critiques of athletes. He was reacting to comments by Newton Thursday that he wasn’t going to stop running out of the pocket, out of concern for taking hits.
Cowherd suggested Newton’s style of play requires less preparation than for quarterbacks less prone to running. He also said Newton’s running style is better suited for high school or college ball.
“You don’t have to sit in the film room forever to run,” Cowherd said. “You’ve got to sit in the film room forever to be a pocket quarterback.
“Cam Newton, the coaches in Carolina are trying to help him. Trying to make him more of a pocket quarterback: Less shots, more wins.”
It’s true that the Panthers would like to reduce some of the hits Newton took. Newton called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last November, to make the point he was taking more dangerous shots than most quarterbacks, without drawing penalties on the defense.
Newton was asked about his running at training camp in Spartanburg, and responded, “That’s my edge. You expect a lion not to roar?”
Cowherd went on to question Newton’s intelligence, based on his statements about running so often as a quarterback. Then, Cowherd said Newton could have a 65 percent completion rate if he would put in the work.
Newton is coming off shoulder surgery. He again invited his receivers to Baltimore recently, to work on synergy prior to training camp.
“It’s damn hard to be a pocket quarterback,” Cowherd concluded. “You have to sit in film rooms.”
This isn’t the first time Cowherd has poked at a prominent Carolinas sports figure and received blow-back.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney took on Cowherd verbally after the Tigers beat Alabama 35-31 in the national championship game in January.
“Clemson’s a fraud. Clemson’s going to get their ears boxed by whoever they play,” Cowherd said on his radio program before the four-team college playoff began. “They should have three losses, maybe four. I don’t buy into Clemson.”
Swinney responded shortly after the title game in Tampa, Fla., “Ask Alabama if we’re a fraud. Ask Ohio State if we’re a fraud. Ask Oklahoma if we’re a fraud.
“The only fraud is that guy (Cowherd), because he didn’t do his homework. I hope y’all print that.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell