Eyeing Down the Opponent: Potential Threat


If you have been watching football or ESPN in the last two weeks, I’m certain you’ve heard some of the hype surrounding Panther’s rookie quarterback, Cam Newton. Camwas the number one overall pick in the 2011 draft and has proven his draft value thoroughly in his first two games as the starting quarterback forCarolina. Newtonhas already thrown for almost 900 yards in only his first two games!  Do you know how many Freeman has?  Free has 502 yards so far.  In his first game against the Cardinals,Newtonset the NFL single-game rookie record for passing with 422 yards.  Just one week later, he broke his own record passing for 432 yards against the defending Super Bowl Champs, the Green Bay Packers!  The team that was declared the worst last season squared off with the Champs and their rookie quarterback almost left with a win.  It appears that the Bucs may have a bit of trouble heading their way.

His Strengths

Cam Newton was an excellent quarterback atAuburnand hasn’t shown any indication of struggling to adjust to the pro level pace of playing football.  He brings a strong arm, quick legs, and excellent vision.  He’s shown that he can throw bombs all day as long as the play calling allows it.  This is made evident by his 83 pass attempts in just two games.  In just two short weeks of the regular season, he’s broken NFL records twice, completed 62.7% of his throws, notched 5 touchdowns, ran 18 times for 71 yards, and has not fumbled once.

His Weaknesses

Ultimately,Camis a rookie.  All these numbers sound spectacular, but he’s shown his inexperience with his decision making ability.  There has been some concern thatCamdoesn’t look at all of his receivers before taking off.  I’ll need to study some game film before writing in depth about this specific topic. Newtonhas tied for the most interceptions thrown in the league for the 2011 season thus far with four, and has been sacked 8 times.  Three of those interceptions came in last weeks game against the Packers.  On several occasions, he has missed a wide open player and attempted to force a more difficult pass due to not looking at all of his options. Newtonalso has struggled getting inside the endzone.  The Panthers have only scored touchdowns 37.5% of the time after getting inside the redzone.

Our Strategy

The Bucs may have a real threat on their hands if this rookie continues to grow at this speed.  Many writers and fans have ruled the Panthers out of the chase in the NFC South division, and that still may be the case.  However, I can guarantee that those individuals never expected this kid to be 2nd behind Brady in passing yards for the first two weeks.  I’ll have plenty more on Cam Newton and the Panthers when they face the Bucs.  Until then, keep your eye on what may be a potential threat to the Buccaneers and the rest of the NFC South in the future.