Jake Delhomme loves Cam Newton on the field.
The former Carolina Panthers quarterback is not nearly as enamored, however, with the way Newton acts off the field after losses.
Delhomme has never talked to Newton about Newton’s occasionally pouty behavior at some news conferences following losses – the ones after the Super Bowl and then after the New Orleans game on Oct. 16 being the most notable examples.
But here’s what Jake said he would say if Cam ever asked for his opinion on how to conduct himself in front of the press after Newton loses the next time.
“If I ever would tell him anything,” Delhomme said in our recent phone interview, “it would be: ‘Hey, man. I know it ain’t fun. But you’ve just gotta do it. You’ve gotta do it, because (if you don’t, the reporters) are going to come back with more. And it’s just never going to end.’ That’s my thing. Get it over with and move on.”
Delhomme even provided a verbal template for Newton, one that he said he used himself after tough losses. (When he said this, it reminded me of Kevin Costner giving advice on how to speak in baseball cliches to Tim Robbins in “Bull Durham.”)
“Just get up there,” Delhomme said, “and say, ‘We didn’t play well. We’re disappointed. It’s a hard loss. We scored some points, but should have scored more. We’ve got work to do.’”
Delhomme, the Panthers quarterback from 2003-09, held most of the team’s passing records until Newton started breaking them. Newton and Delhomme rank 1-2, respectively, in both passing yards and career touchdown passes for Carolina. They remain the only two quarterbacks in Panthers history to take a Carolina team to the Super Bowl.
Delhomme, 41, lives in Louisiana and is heavily involved in the horse industry. He remains a huge fan of the Panthers and of Newton and attended Carolina’s most recent game – a 41-38 defeat at New Orleans.
One play in particular stood out for Delhomme, who was sitting in the Superdome alongside former Carolina tight end Kris Mangum when it happened. It was a 1-yard touchdown throw to Ed Dickson in which Newton first scrambled left to avoid pressure, then leaped and turned to make a difficult throw.
“The throw Cam made going to the left, where he kicked his feet and reset himself?” Delhomme said. “When that happened, Kris Mangum and I took turns hitting each other and saying, ‘Oh my God! You can’t do that! That is just not normal!’”
Newton, of course, has made many plays that a normal NFL quarterback cannot. Delhomme just hopes he can eventually handle a losing press conference the way most normal NFL quarterbacks do. Delhomme joked that doing so is in “the fine print of the contract” that every quarterback must adhere to, even as a kid.
“I know it’s the last thing he wants to do,” Delhomme said of Newton’s postgame news conferences following losses. “It’s very difficult, because you don’t think coming off an MVP year and a Super Bowl appearance that you’re going to start 1-5. But you just have to answer those questions. You just have to do it.”
Delhomme says Dak is answer for Dallas
Delhomme also had a couple of other interesting things to say:
▪ On Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton. “I think Jonathan makes a huge difference for our offense. He body-blows a defense. They can hit him all they want but he physically wears down a defense. And I’m not worried about Cam. He played well enough for us to win even against Denver – and he was getting annihilated.”
▪ On the Dallas Cowboys and whether they should stick with rookie Dak Prescott at quarterback or go to veteran Tony Romo when he returns from injury. “I think Dallas is good – if they keep Dak in. Look, I think I’m a prime example of when Father Time knocks on your door, he’s not knocking again. He’s telling you, ‘Hey, I’m here.’ With Romo – he’s been hurt too much. You can try to stay on top of it. But when Father Time comes, he comes.”