He Cam, He Saw, He Conquered

Cam Newton

Cam Newton’s performances this year has lead the Carolina Panthers to  an 11-0 record which has undeniably put him in the MVP conversation. Cam seems to have become a victim of the “Russell Wilson Phenomenon.” When the Panthers win, everybody is given credit but Cam. Credit is given to the defense, Greg Olsen, the Sun, or anyone whose name is not Cam Newton!

But it is time to finally give Cam Newton credit for the success of the Panther’s offense.

Carolina is the only team in the NFL that runs more than it passes. Despite having a very productive tight end in Greg Olsen, the Panthers lack a primary receiver, with Tedd Ginn and Corey “Philly” Brown as two of Cam’s biggest targets. Thus, Newton has rushed for five touchdowns this year, while also almost eclipsing 2,000 passing yards this season. He remains one game behind Steve Young for the outright lead for Quarterbacks with a passing and rushing touchdown in the same game in NFL history. The dual threat performance Newton displays every week is not only entertaining, but also MVP- worthy without a doubt.

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Newton is not given enough credit for he progression he has made as a pocket passer. This touchdown is merely one example of Newton’s progression as a pocket passing quarterback.
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The Panthers run out of their two tight end package, a very popular package that Carolina has used when passing and rushing the football. Cam motions for Dickson into the backfield before the play starts, understanding that if cornerback Vontae Davis follows Dickson, he would be playing man coverage.

Davis only tightens his alignment and backs off the line which gives Cam the idea that the Colts are not running a man coverage. At the top and bottom of the play the cornerbacks are playing way off the line of scrimmage. The Colts are running  zone coverage(Cover 3), the zone responsibilities are split into thirds between the two cornerbacks and the strong safety. This is a very successful play usually for the defense when defending the run and pass. While the field is broken up into thirds between two cornerbacks and a strong safety receivers are accounted for, while the tight end(s) can sometimes be unattended. Olsen stays on the line quietly as he prepares to run a go route.  The Go route will succeed against the Cover 3 because Olsen will run in between the zone responsibilities of the cornerback Vontae Davis and safety Mike Adams. Ed Dickson buys time for Newton becoming an extra blocker, while Cam freezes the Adams with a look down the middle of the field opposite of Olsen. Mike Adams gambles towards the side of the two wide receivers and seconds later once Olsen was in man coverage deep down the field, Newton leads him perfectly for the touchdown. This was one play two years ago seen every once in awhile, Newton makes these kind of plays on a weekly basis and continues to progress in the fifth season of his career.

Newton sometimes gets caught throwing off the back of his foot, while also struggling to throw slant and medium passes I think due to his form and his way of play. Cam Newton’s third touchdown that was a throw to Greg Olsen against Green Bay was thrown off his back foot and it was a slant route across the middle. There was a lot of a zip on the ball and Olsen bobbled it for a second.

Currently there are two players on the MVP leader board, Tom Brady and Cameron Newton. Tom Brady is leading the New England Patriots to an undefeated record behind an inconsistent line and a unsatisfactory offense. While everybody and everything is changing around Brady he finds a way to stay consistent and keep being productive. Cam Newton not only has a chance to strengthen his MVP argument, but also has an opportunity to conquer the NFC while sticking to the basics in Carolina.

-Cam Carter
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