In April, the Carolina Panthers made Cam Newton the top pick of the NFL draft. And with three preseason games under his belt, the Panthers must decide if Newton is ready to be thrown to the wolves as the team’s starting quarterback.
With Jimmy Clausen as the incumbent, the starting job is there for Newton to take. But Cam’s play so far in the preseason is making this race much closer than the team probably hoped it would be.
Below is a look at each play in the preseason in which Newton threw a pass (green bars), was sacked (negative bars), or ran with the ball (red bars). The different coloured backgrounds represent the three preseason opponents (Giants = blue, Dolphins = teal, Bengals =orange).
Of those 63 plays, Newton has accounted for 321 yards, or 5.1 yards per play. But maybe more disturbing is just how often the offence is unable to move forward. Of the 63 plays, 35 (55.6%) went for zero or negative yards.
When Newton is able to find a receiver or some open room to run, the plays tend to be big, as positive plays are averaging 12.3 yards per play. But those plays are too infrequent to effectively run an NFL offence.
Thanks to the NFL lockout, Newton’s already steep learning curve had to be accelerated. And by the looks of things, he still has a long ways to go.