Panther Tracks

Colin Cowherd knows Panthers fans don’t like him, but says he’s right about Cam Newton

Cam Newton is known for giving other players nicknames and has a few new ones this summer.
Cam Newton is known for giving other players nicknames and has a few new ones this summer. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

On Wednesday, Fox Sports talk show host Colin Cowherd predicted that the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton could be one of 10 NFL “Dumpster Fires,” where the season just fell apart.

Cowherd said once the Panthers get into “deep third” place in the NFC South and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner cannot correct his flaws, people would “bail” on Newton.

You can read that story here.

Well, Panther fans caught wind of it and took Cowherd to task with some social media bombs.

Here’s an example of that:

So on his nationally televised show on Thursday, Cowherd took about five minutes to double down on his prediction that Newton and the Panthers are heading south.

Understand that Cowherd has been a serial Newton criticizer for years. Before the 2017 season began, for example, Cowherd called Newton’s style of play “lazy” because he would run too much and not be a traditional pocket passer.

The Panthers’ official Twitter snapped back to Cowherd on that one.

But Cowherd is ever persistent. So this season, Newton — a former league MVP and offensive rookie of the year — will try to lead the Panthers to their fifth playoff appearance in his eighth season.

Cowherd just doesn’t think that resume is good enough.

“A lot of times I’ll say something and people react to it,” Cowherd said. “They say, ‘Ah, Cowherd’s crazy. He’s unbelievable. I hate that guy.’ In Carolina, they don’t like me because I’ve always said of Cam Newton, I call him ‘Roller-coaster Cam’ because every week you get a different quarterback.”

Cowherd said quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Tom Brady and Carson Wentz are much more consistent.

“Cam,” he said, “will go great, stinker, great, stinker. Half-to-half, quarter-to-quarter, game-to-game, series-to-series. He’s all over the map. ...You don’t know what you’re getting with Cam, depends on the mood he’s in.”

Cowherd also addressed how a group of NFL executives recently ranked the NFL quarterbacks by putting them into four tiers. Aaron Rodgers, Brady, Brees and Ben Roethlisberger were Tier 1. Newton was one of 10 put into Tier 2. Newton ranked 11th overall among all 32 quarterbacks.

“The NFL execs said he’s not a top 10 quarterback,” Cowherd said. “Are they haters?... It’s not hate if it’s accurate. If I say something and it’s accurate, it’s not hate.

“Saying Steph Curry’s no good is haterade,” Cowherd continued. “Saying LeBron James is no good is haterade. Saying Cam Newton is not a top 10 quarterback is accurate.”

Finally, Cowherd laid out a bit of a challenge. With an elite defense, Cowherd said Newton only needs to score around 28 points per game to have a great season.

Cowherd felt that Newton didn’t need to score 36 points to win like, say, Andrew Luck, because he’s got Luke Kuechly on his team. Last season, however, New Orleans ranked fourth in the league scoring 28 points per game. Carolina (22.7 PPG) ranked 12th in 2017 when it finished the regular-season 11-5.

But back to Cowherd.

“If Cam Newton can’t have a winning season with that front seven and now he’s got real pieces,” Cowherd concluded, “that’s on Cam, because you’re getting an elite offensive coordinator (Norv Turner). You have a good enough offensive line. You have (running back) CJ Anderson from Denver with (Christian) McCaffrey; (Tight end Greg) Olsen. You got real receivers.”

“If they don’t average 26-28 (points) and don’t go 10-6 or 11-5, you gotta really look now at the Cam. Is this the guy? Because (Atlanta QB) Matt Ryan is not leaving anytime soon. (New Orleans QB) Drew Brees has two or three years. How long can you babysit him?”

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