November 09, 2011
If Cam Newton(notes) stays on his current pace, we're all in the middle of witnessing one of the best rookie seasons a quarterback has had in the NFL in the last 30 years. His completion percentage is over 60, his quarterback rating is pushing 90, and he's sixth in the league in passing yards.
But there remains one critic he has yet to win over -- the harsh, disapproving critic who lives inside of him. Nothing is ever enough for that guy. From Newton's appearance on Atlanta's 790 The Zone on Wednesday morning, via Sports Radio Interviews:
Did you think that your rookie season could go this well?:
"I always give the same response about, 'Cam, are you really surprised with your performance?' Whether it's a reporter, whether it's whoever that's asking me, I've asked this question to them: 'Have you ever put a large body of work into something and expected it just to be OK?' … So why would I be surprised with my performances right now. If anything, I feel like I've failed myself due to this game is about wins and losses. And I'm not hanging my hat on no 2-6 season and we still have an opportunity to change that."
A tip of the cap to Newton for saying the right thing here. Ultimately, at some point in his career, he will be judged on wins and losses (though that may not be right now, as no reasonable person really expected the 2011 Carolina Panthers to win anything). It's what people want to hear, and one senses that he means it, too. He's a winner. He wants to win.
At the same time, another part of me just wants to shake him and say, "Take the compliment, man." He's certainly earned it. If anyone in the league had the right to jump up and down, screaming, "LOOK AT ME, I'M AWESOME!", it's him. There were so many doubters out there when he was taken No. 1 overall, and he's so far exceeded expectations that a little self-appreciation would not be out of line.
His attitude will serve him, and the Panthers, well down the line. I do hope that some part of him is enjoying the ride, though.
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