Steve Smith has certainly not been a poster boy for maturity over the course of his long career. He has punched two teammates, cursed on camera, cursed off camera and generally been a hot-head for much of his career. That said, he has evolved a great deal in the past several years. Smith has earned the right to wear that capital C on his shirt week after week and the responsibilities that come along with it. One of those responsibilities is to keep the younger guys in check when they show their immaturity.
That is exactly what happened on the sidelines during the Carolina Panthers week one tail whipping by the New York Giants. Steve Smith called out Cam Newton for sulking and not taking mental reps with the rest of the team after he was pulled for Derek Anderson with the game out of reach. As a huge Carolina Panthers fan, I say it is long overdue.
Cam Newton and the towel
Anybody that has watched Cam Newton knows all about the towel. The minute things go wrong for him, he heads to the bench and puts a Gatorade towel over his head. Some have defended his right to do so, while others have lambasted him as being immature and pouty. I feel that it is sometimes overblown, but I do think it has a negative effect on Cam and the team as a whole. Newton should be meeting with the receivers or offensive line, talking with a coordinator, plotting a fix for the problem or simply observing what is going on in my view. Sitting on the bench with a towel over your head sends a signal that you are beaten. His body language says the same thing.
Steve Smith and the mental reps
Although the Gatorade towel is part of the problem, it was not the reason that Steve Smith went off on Thursday night. Smith went off because Cam Newton was not standing and watching Derek Anderson to get mental reps. This is where the quarterback observes another quarterback running a play live and it can be very beneficial towards learning. All backup quarterbacks do it throughout a game and Cam should have been doing it as well. Even if he did it only for support of the team, Cam should have been up there and paying attention. It looked really bad sitting off to the side like that.
Should he have done it publicly?
I say yes. Cam Newton has been doing this for over a year and Ron Rivera obviously is not going to say anything to him. I have always wondered why Rivera treats him with such kid gloves. It is almost as though he is too soft with him. That is funny, because I have never seen Rivera as soft on or off the field. Whatever the case, somebody needed to say it and Smitty did. Cam needed the attitude adjustment and it might just light the fire needed to move forward. Doing it in private would not have done the same thing.
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that is convinced that he will see a Super Bowl Trophy in Charlotte within five years.
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- Five Positives for the Carolina Panthers After Beating the New York Jets: 2012 NFL Preseason Fan's Take
- Carolina Panthers Rookie Josh Norman Backing Up His Trash Talking: Fan's Opinion
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