The NFL’s top rookie put on a show for the roughly 15,000 fans that came out to Fan Fest this afternoon.
Newton threw deep passes with ease, often hitting receivers perfectly in stride or threading the needle right into their arms. Then he’d scramble for a first down, or throw a perfect fade into the end zone for a touchdown. It all seems so effortless to him.
“One thing I’ve been trying to work on at practice is being more consistent,” Newton said. “Consistency is not going to come right away.”
But Cam, unlike any Panther QB in team history, makes everything look so easy.
“It’s easy right now because I have this red jersey on,” Newton said. “As soon as all the jersey colors are the same, it’s going to be harsh out there.”
The Panthers are trying to add in things slowly to the system. Part of that is adding plays that Newton is familiar with already from his days at Auburn.
“Being under Coach Chudzinski, for the time I’ve been under him he’s an open-minded coach,” Cam said when asked about parts of the read option offense being in the Panthers’ playbook. “He’s always willing to learn and put in new things that makes everybody excited. He’s willing to capitalize on my strong points of the game.”
Cam spoke about Chudzinski and his results he’d gotten with Chargers TE Antonio Gates — one of the top Tight Ends in the NFL.
“I’m looking at video of Phillip (Rivers) and I’m going to Coach Chud and asking him ‘How do I get to this point?’,” Newton said. “It’s a process I’m going through each day.”
The Panthers have done a good job of surrounding Newton with weapons. Guys like DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey will make Newton’s transition easier from college to the NFL.
“There’s no facade; we have weapons on this team, and all our weapons help each other out,” said Newton. “We’ve got Steve Smith on the outside, and he opens it up for Shockey and Olsen. And with any potent running game, that’s going to open it up for anything else. We have to be able to manage the game first off; Jonathan and DeAngelo do an excellent job, running hard, down hill football. Of course that’s going to open up passing lanes in the defense, allowing the offense to get big chunks down the field.
“I was telling Steve (Smith), I’ve got the easy job — I just call the play. I step to the line, I throw it and you guys are there. And Shockey and Olsen, they make everybody’s job easy when they attack the ball in the air, and they have that mindset that when that ball is in the air, it’s mine.”
Newton knows he’s the face of the franchise now, and he appreciates the fans’ attention.
“I’m very passionate when it comes to fans, because I once was in their seats, looking down and hoping that one day I’d get a chance to see or witness the life of an NFL player. I know I can’t sign everybody’s autograph, but I just want them to see that I care.
“I just want to give everybody the opportunity to witness the passion that I have.”