2011 Reality Check
Carolina Panthers‘ recent acquisition of rookie quarterback Cam Newton went better than expected, but Newton isn’t without his flaws. Statistically, Newton produced 4,051 total passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and an 84.5 quarterback rating. That put him in the company of veterans Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick and Tennessee Titans Matt Hasselbeck in terms of quarterback rating. This is impressive given that it is his first NFL season after his departure from the Auburn Tigers. However, his consistency is the issue. Newton started spectacularly against the Arizona Cardinals in his first game with 422 total passing yards, 2 touchdowns, an interception and an impressive 110.4 quarterback rating. However, as he faced tougher teams in his next five games, his quarterback rating went from 72.0 against the Green Bay Packers to a dismal 44.6 quarterback rating against the Atlanta Falcons. He did well against two hapless teams the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings for his next two games with ratings of 127.5 and 117.6. Then he went up and down throughout the rest of the season, peaking against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 16 with 171 total passing yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions and a spectacular 142.4 quarterback rating. Cam Newton may have been a fantasy beast at times, but then again, it was against weaker teams of the NFL. He broke several records as a rookie including rushing touchdowns in the 2011 regular season and became the first player in league history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 yards. However, Cam Newton’s statistics, when put in perspective, are a bit over-inflated.
With Cam Newton announcing that Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Vince Young is in the same category JaMarcus Russell, not only is it wrong, it is downright arrogant. True, given that Newton actually started better than Vince Young and only comparable to Vince Young in his fourth season with the Tennessee Titans, Vince Young had better statistics and quarterback rating through his seasons with the Tennessee Titans than JaMarcus Russell’s three-year tenure with the Oakland Raiders. JaMarcus Russell never got better than a 77.1 quarterback rating with 2,423 quarterback rating on 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 2008.
2012 Fantasy Football Outlook
Cam Newton was a fantasy beast in 2011 with a commanding QB1 statistics, but I would cap him at a mid- QB2 when he matures and as the seasons become more difficult. The Carolina Panthers season ended with a 6-10, which isn’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. Mobile quarterbacks in the NFL are generally slightly above-average at best and at worst, mediocre. Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick was the exception to the rule during the 2010 regular season, but reality set in the 2011 regular season. Cam Newton was the exception this season. The Carolina Panthers 2012 schedule have them against some of the tougher defenses in the league including the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks. Newton will get a heavy dose of reality next season and going forward. He should potentially end up at a mid-range QB2 with upside during the 2012 regular season.
- NFL insider: Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton answers doubters with historic rookie season (mercurynews.com)