Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton helped lead his team to 15 regular season wins and a Super Bowl appearance this past season.
And while Newton delighted fans all season long by handing out souvenirs and tallying a ridiculous 45 touchdowns, head coach Ron Rivera acknowledged his quarterback still has ways to go.
“He’s got an awful lot of room to grow,” Rivera told ESPN Radio on Thursday. “He can really transcend this game in many different ways because of the way the game is played today.” The game is played at an up tempo, it’s played from a spread offense, it’s played from the shotgun … the quarterback makes the opportunity to whether run, throw or pass. I mean, he truly is a triple threat now.”
Newton was dominant on the field last season through the air as well as on foot. He achieved a 99.4 quarterback rating, ranking him eighth among regular NFL starters. The reigning league MVP also added 636 rushing yards and 10 scores on the ground.
Now, coming off his most successful season, Rivera wants Newton to keep focus and realize there’s always room to grow.
One of these areas of improvement has to be accuracy. Newton completed less than 60 percent of his attempts last season, ranking him among the bottom third of regular NFL starters.
Perhaps the return of Kelvin Benjamin will help Newton in this department.
Outside of basic stats and overall on-field performance, Newton has a tendency to wear his emotions on his sleeve.
A primary example of this was Newton’s post-game press conference after putting up a dud of a performance in Super Bowl 50. He mumbled one-word responses, showed himself to be too immature to handle the limelight, and ultimately, stormed off stage.
It will now be up to Newton to keep focused, knowing full well that he has to live up to last year’s excellent performance. Fortunately for Cam, he has one of the most highly-regarded head coaches to show him the way.