Here’s why the Panthers can be a real contender in NFC with Cam Newton back on the scene for Carolina

Orange Newton’s Panthers debut (or re-debut, whatever you want to call it) couldn’t be more appealing. The former MVP may have benefited from his limited role on Sunday, taking up duty in the red zone early in Carolina’s big win over Arizona. But all signs suggest the veteran will take over as quarterback as soon as he picks up pace – possibly Week 11 against Washington. And not only that, Newton’s arrival (return) to the QB1 mission in Carolina marks a new chapter for the 2021 Panthers: real competition in NFC.

There’s a reason Newton, 32, hasn’t signed up for long in the season. There’s a reason Patriots feel free to cut him in August and hand over the key to the rookie Mac Jones. There’s a reason he sat there long before he landed in New England. The numbers aren’t here: Since Newton’s peak as a Panthers superstar, winning MVP and guiding Carolina to Super Bowl in 2015, the former No. 1 player in general became completely mediocre as a passer.

So why on Earth should the Panthers be valued with him at the center?

First, because Newton was never inefficient on the ground. Even in his half-decade of alternative-level aerial production, the big man remains a threat to his feet. Case in point: His lackluster in 2020, in which he matched the dullness of a flat-out Patriots support cast, has seen Newton record 12 hastily grounded hits .

And guess? The Panthers are exactly the kind of team that can use a steady, flat-iron runner at the QB spot. They are built to win by controlling the ball and the clock, leaving the games in the hands of their choking defences, so combine Newton’s imposing ground game with dynamism. in the short area of Christian McCaffrey produces a promising formula.

Second, the Panthers really have nothing but mediocre production in QB until Cam’s return. Sam Darnold starts the hot season but quickly cools down, then freezes, reverting to the odd form he inhabited for most of the run failing with Jet plane. PJ Walker, who replaced him, did his job to help lead to Sunday’s win and is now 2-0 as a NFL just started, but he’s still a 57% career passer with six picks and three fumbles in eight career games.

In other words, the bar is already pretty low in a position the Panthers have been too eager to tackle in recent years, so even if Newton – now appears to be more rested and healthier than in the long run. – still passable as a thrower, he will probably represent a slight upgrade.

Combine all of that with the fact that Carolina’s defense is legit – #1 against passes, #2 overall, #3 on sack – and the fact that the NFC wild card race is complete. Totally open, and there’s no doubt the Panthers should be written in pencil into the post-season picture.

Newton may not be the MVP contender he used to be, but with his unparalleled size and renewable energy, he makes an incredibly good fit for a team that is looking to get hotter in the hot days. colder months and maybe, just maybe, giving the storybook back to Charlotte a magical ending. | Here’s why the Panthers can be a real contender in NFC with Cam Newton back on the scene for Carolina


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