Posted October 22, 2012

Time ticking on Panthers’ desire to build around Cam Newton

Carolina Panthers

Things have not gone well in Cam Newton’s second season. (Jeff Siner/MCT/

Cam Newton’s words in the wake of Carolina’s 19-14 loss to Dallas on Sunday sound rather ominous now:

“This taste, this vibe — I’m not buying it, man,” a disgusted Newton lamented. “And I don’t know what it is, but something’s going to have to change. Something’s going to have to change real fast.”

Less than 24 hours after those comments, the Panthers fired general manager Marty Hurney, who has run the show in Carolina since 2002. Hurney delivered three playoff berths, two division titles and a Super Bowl appearance in that time, but Carolina is a combined 9-29 since 2010 — and, worse yet, all of 7-15 since committing the franchise to Newton as its quarterback.

“This was an extremely difficult decision,” Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement.

Figuring out the next step might be even harder.

Chalk Newton’s deflated tone Sunday up as whining, if you want, but he has a point: Carolina’s current approach is not working, and part of the problem is that it’s nearly impossible to figure out exactly what the Panthers want to be.

They used the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft on Newton and, since then, have handed huge contract extensions to both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Last year, Newton almost single-handedly took the Panthers to a 6-10 mark; in 2012, he looks indecisive while the run game, on the books for about $80 million, often has become an afterthought.

Barring a miraculous 9-1 or 10-0 finish, this season stands as a lost one for the Panthers when it comes to competing for a playoff spot. That means two years of letdowns in the Cam Newton era.

This is far from all Newton’s fault, mind you — the Panthers might not have won more than two or three games in 2011 without Newton’s breakthrough rookie season. But if you compare Newton to some of the other quarterbacks drafted in the past two years, it’s a troubling situation for Carolina.

The Colts have reestablished competitiveness with Andrew Luck at the helm, Robert Griffin III played for first place in New York on Sunday and Ryan Tannehill’s Dolphins sit just a half-game back in the AFC East. Even third-round pick Russell Wilson is right in the thick of the playoff race; and Andy Dalton, a second-rounder in 2011, put a playoff trip under his belt last season.

Then, there’s everyone else. Unfortunately for the Panthers, from a team-success standpoint, the second list includes Newton, right alongside guys like Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and (for now) Brandon Weeden.

Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect rookie QBs to step in, especially for teams bad enough to hold the No. 1 pick, and ignite an immediate turnaround. The Panthers are looking at two lost seasons with Newton at the helm, though, making it vitally important that they figure this out by 2013.

Hurney’s dismissal caught a lot of people off-guard Monday morning, but as Newton said, something has to change in Carolina. This team is no closer to being a playoff contender on Oct. 22, 2012 than it was on April 28, 2011, when Newton’s name was called at Radio City Music Hall. And it’s hard to expect that a new GM will bring instant success in 2013, either.

Franchise quarterbacks are hard to come by — hence, all these teams using high draft picks to try to find one. If the Panthers are convinced that Newton is their best chance to win the NFC South and, eventually, a Super Bowl, then they need to go quickly back to the drawing board and find a new way to build around him.

The clock is ticking, and two seasons worth of Newton’s NFL career have gone down the drain already.


Sophmore Slump, oh no. With an offense that has their QB also at RB that much and has one WR gettin blamed that much down below the M-D line, it nuthin' new. If he has to go to Canada for a year, come back, and ends up playing for somebody else, they'll really miss him.



I think Cam looks exactly like  Vince 2.0 ..Time will tell

Dustin Madlung
Dustin Madlung 1 Like

I would be looking at the coach rather than the GM.  I am pretty sure that this team was pretty good at one point by just running the ball, eating up the clock, and just basically having a qb who did not commit too many turnovers.


I think Williams and Stewart at one time were the best RB duo in the league (still are damn good) and they add tolbert but yet they don't get many touches.  I think the Panthers can win with what they have, just need to run the ball more and not have Newton take too many chances.


 @Dustin Madlung The you know nothing of Hurney's history of poor decisions.  He's the guy who constantly mortgaged future top picks for mediocre returns in the present AND he vastly overpaid to keep quite a few homegrown players that were far from elite talents.  Rivera certainly deserves some blame as well, but he hasn't been running that team into the ground for a decade.


So, your response to Carolina's failure to protect Newton - as all rookies are - with a run consistent game, procure top-notch wideouts, a young running back to spell oft-injured DeAngelo Williams, and failure to draft talented defenders is to - potentially rid the team of Cam Newton? Because he's in the class of young QBs like ------ Brandon Weedon? Weedon who utterly failed in a pro-set offense at the Senior Bowl and, at the time fell to the 4th or 5th round of the draft? Who quit baseball because he inexplicably lost 5 mph on his fastball WITHOUT being injured (how and why Cleveland decided to draft him in the 1st round is the stuff of "FAIL" legend)?!






Agree.  This is an almost mindless article.  Newton has no help, yet the article implies he is at fault and is starting to suck?  Idiotic.


 @pcwhite2  @dkwilsonisland I think you need to re-read it. I never suggested getting rid of Newton, nor did I blame him for all this or say that he sucks. I said they've wasted two years that should have been spent building a team around Newton. They have direction right now, and even the best quarterbacks in the league need the right talent around them. Glad it wasn't totally mindless, though.