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Cam Newton says Panthers need to reach his level, Panthers agree

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When Cam Newton said in an interview with ESPN that he needs the Panthers to get “on my level,” there was some talk that it could be viewed as an arrogant comment, and cause for resentment in the Panthers’ locker room.

But it turns out that the leaders in the Panthers’ locker room agree.

Panthers receiver Steve Smith told the Charlotte Observer that he’s glad Newton came to Carolina wanting to change the culture: After all, the reason the Panthers were in a position to draft Newton first overall in this year’s draft is that they were the worst team in the league last year.

It doesn’t bother me at all. I’d rather have a guy who is upset that we lost, obviously handling it the right way, than a guy who is neither way, whichever way,” Smith said. “I like a guy who has the desire not to win next year, but he wants to win immediately. I think we needed more of that.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that if Newton is frustrated by the losing in Carolina, that’s a good thing.

“Cam’s approach to everything is 100 percent,” Rivera said. “You have to understand who he is. He is a young man that just doesn’t like to lose.”

And if the Panthers don’t want to lose, then Newton is right: They’re going to need players on his level.

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78 Responses to “Cam Newton says Panthers need to reach his level, Panthers agree”
  1. Kaz says: Dec 9, 2011 11:46 AM

    “The Panthers” refering to his team like they are seperate from him is what they need to be scratching their heads about…

  2. blackngoldsuperbowl says: Dec 9, 2011 11:46 AM

    PRIMA DONA

  3. coderacer says: Dec 9, 2011 11:47 AM

    He meant ‘on his level’ as far as his level of hatred for losing. Not his level of talent/play…..The media can twist so many things sometimes.

  4. choicess says: Dec 9, 2011 11:49 AM

    This guy is a game-changer and difference-maker. The Panthers are incredibly fortunate they got this guy. They are a few defensive players short of being a perennial playoff contender. Honestly can’t believe people had doubts about this kid just 1 year ago. Kid’s ceiling is higher than Peyton Manning’s.

  5. bobbyyyd says: Dec 9, 2011 11:50 AM

    Panthers will make the playoffs next season. The years of Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees running the NFC south will soon come to an end. If Beason and Thomas Davis didn’t go down to season ending injuries the panthers could of made a run this year. Cam is the real thing, everyone can see it. Rivera will add some depth to the defense this offseason, and I could see us winning 10 to 11 games next season.

  6. trbowman says: Dec 9, 2011 11:51 AM

    Well, it is an arrogant comment from an arrogant person.

  7. cowboysallday says: Dec 9, 2011 11:51 AM

    Every team needs a guy like Cam Newton

  8. flapjackdaddy says: Dec 9, 2011 11:52 AM

    This was poorly coined.

    Go watch the interview for yourself.

  9. acieu says: Dec 9, 2011 11:52 AM

    Hope he doesn’t mean his level of morality

  10. jefferee101 says: Dec 9, 2011 11:55 AM

    This kid has been amazing so far. Can’t argue with results.

  11. mempusa says: Dec 9, 2011 11:55 AM

    If anyone has a problem with their QB calling out losers on the team and demanding excellence, it says a lot about your desire to win or lack thereof.

    Cam is absolutely right.

  12. mancave001 says: Dec 9, 2011 11:56 AM

    trbowman says:
    Dec 9, 2011 11:51 AM
    Well, it is an arrogant comment from an arrogant person.

    —————————

    I’ve seen nothing that indicates arrogance. In fact, he’s been anything but.

  13. azusadave says: Dec 9, 2011 11:56 AM

    He may be right, but saying it like that comes across as arrogant.

  14. thespeaker08 says: Dec 9, 2011 11:56 AM

    The Panthers have been perennial losers.

    They have a winner with a winner’s attitude and that is the attitude. Too many NFL teams both covet and could use a winning attitude.

    Nothing is wrong with his statement.

  15. deegizzle says: Dec 9, 2011 11:57 AM

    I’m pretty sure that Newton, when saying “his level,” is saying he needs the other people in the locker room at his level of desire for winning, not his level of talent or playing level.

    Basically, he’s saying he hates losing, and he needs everyone in the building to get to that level of hatred/desire.

    He’s using sort of a slang version of “my level.”

  16. KIR says: Dec 9, 2011 11:58 AM

    Not the right thing to say publicly, but it’s the truth. I’ve seen every game he’s played this year and with an average defense that team would only have three looses this year.

  17. wegonnadoitbaby says: Dec 9, 2011 12:00 PM

    He is still a rookie, and that encompasses his dealings with the media. Troy Aikman once said while appearing on a local radio station that he found it prudent to never make a comment that might later require another comment to clarify his original statement, and that seems to be a pretty good rule of thumb.

    The “team” needs to take it up a couple of levels just sounds better than “MY” level respective of what he meant. If you leave it open to interpretation, it will surely be interpreted for you in the media, especially if you have his star power.

  18. blackchief29 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:00 PM

    Love it! Winners accept nothing less. Cam has proved me wrong this year.

  19. tundey says: Dec 9, 2011 12:02 PM

    It’s true. It might be impolite but at some point the losing will get to you and you will want players to either step up their game or have your bosses get better players. Even the most anti-Newton football fan can’t deny that he’s doing his part.

  20. davoider says: Dec 9, 2011 12:03 PM

    coderacer says:
    Dec 9, 2011 11:47 AM
    He meant ‘on his level’ as far as his level of hatred for losing. Not his level of talent/play…..The media can twist so many things sometimes.

    ————————————————–

    Who is the one twisting words here? Do you understand how little sense this makes? “Guys, play on my level of hating to lose.” Do you honestly believe there are players who like losing? Clearly he was saying his team isn’t as good as him and until they start playing like he does they won’t. Thus he is throwing his team under the bus and claiming they are holding him back.

    There really is no other way to interpret it that makes even the slightest bit of sense.

  21. vexey says: Dec 9, 2011 12:04 PM

    Media taking things out of context

    In related news: sky blue, water wet

  22. KIR says: Dec 9, 2011 12:04 PM

    Who thinks Luck is going to play better than Newton in his first year. The Colts are just as bad a the Panthers last year. Thumbs up if you think Luck is going to play as good our better.

  23. pikkiwoki says: Dec 9, 2011 12:06 PM

    Stolen laptops for everyone!

  24. KIR says: Dec 9, 2011 12:06 PM

    Correction
    as the
    or better

  25. blackngoldsuperbowl says: Dec 9, 2011 12:08 PM

    @ bobbyyyd

    LOL, thats big talk from a fan of a team with 6 wins in two seasons.

  26. spunjmunke says: Dec 9, 2011 12:10 PM

    It’s so easy to take comments like this out of context. But when it’s put in a headline, it’s hard to not think that Newton isn’t a huge D-bag.

  27. garem75 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:12 PM

    Everyone making comments about prima dona or arrogant, obviously didn’t take the 3 mins to watch the interview….do yourself a favor watch the interview, then comment. Otherwise you look foolish.

  28. djanarchy757 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:13 PM

    sooo can Cam have his number now???

  29. allball23 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:17 PM

    Cam is a beast. He is a super talent. everyone else has to step up their play

  30. biz518 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:17 PM

    A leader calling out his team mates to step it up…why is this a problem for so many people…he is right after all

  31. steelhammer92 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:17 PM

    Typical knee-jerk reaction judging by the comments. The guy isn’t an arrogant d-bag.. He’s talking about desire to win. He came to a team with a losing culture. He wants the mentality of the team to change into winners.

  32. skoalbrother says: Dec 9, 2011 12:17 PM

    His level?? What level is he referring to? How far he can throw a laptop out of a window or the lying, cheating & stealing.

  33. hatesycophants says: Dec 9, 2011 12:18 PM

    If you’re watching football in search of “morality,” you’re an idiot.

    If you’re passing judgment on others based upon your own skewed morality, you’re a hypocrite.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  34. jcdurden88 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:28 PM

    common’ man he is talking about the mentality of losing .. i know it sounded a little wierd but you guys won’t give anyone a chance, won’t you??

  35. packattack1967 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:30 PM

    Hard to argue that. The kid is for real.

  36. mathomp3 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:30 PM

    From someone who wanted to see Cam fail about as badly as anyone… the kid can flat out play. All he is doing is trying to motivate his team to play harder, nothing arrogant about this statement at all. You have to respect the way he has handled everything thrown at him.

  37. goawayeverybody says: Dec 9, 2011 12:40 PM

    Just when I thought Cam Newton had handled himself flawlessly this year, he pulls out this “me me me” prima donna crap. How sad.

  38. danospleasanton says: Dec 9, 2011 12:40 PM

    As much as I hate arrogance, Cam is right. He is spectacular and as a 9er fan, I believe the NFC is gonna have fits with this team next year. He is a special player,never seen anything like him.

  39. super34 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:46 PM

    I have no problem with a star player calling out his team to improve their game so they can reach the next level, but you do it behind closed doors no in an interview. For as great as Cam thinks he is he should realize it was his interceptions that cost his team wins. The kid will put numbers and that’s about it. I have never seen Brady, Brees, Manning or any other great QB make a statement like that. When he starts accepting his own faults is when the Panthers will start winning.

  40. abr173rd says: Dec 9, 2011 12:47 PM

    And the exact reason analysts speculated some teams would stay away from drafting him rears it’s ugly head…. You can sugar coat it however you want, Brees, Manning, and Brady have never made a comment after a lose in reference to singling out their team…Because are they are true leaders!

  41. CKL says: Dec 9, 2011 12:50 PM

    The statement isn’t arrogant if you hear the whole interview, I agree. He’s just not as good at putting some things into words sometimes as maybe some other guys are. What’s arrogant is that superman TD thing he does..hate it. Hate it with any QB, not just him. It was wise of Rodgers to stop doing that belt thing which I also hated.

    What’s strange/disturbing to me is how a team 3 seasons removed from a 12-4 record has a “losing culture” according to him. This isn’t a team that’s been uncompetitive for a whole decade like some others. Many of those vets have been on their competitive squads of the past.

  42. Kaz says: Dec 9, 2011 12:51 PM

    I admittedly didn’t listen, and as I reread the “report” he might not have said “the Panthers”. So I take it back. For whatever reason when I first read it that is how it sounded.

  43. harbor6261 says: Dec 9, 2011 12:54 PM

    ““The Panthers” refering to his team like they are seperate from him is what they need to be scratching their heads about…”

    Apparently this is the first time you have ever heard of Cam Newton. Considering he constantly refers to “Cam Netwon” in his interviews – following your logic he is reffering to himself separate from .. um himself.

    Everyone – quit frakking trying to twist every word he says to fit your agenda. Silly.

  44. bobbyyyd says: Dec 9, 2011 12:55 PM

    Lots of panther hate! I love it. It seems like the average NFL fan thinks of the Panthers on the same level as the rams, colts. etc. Cannot wait till next season when we prove the doubters wrong again and make the playoffs

  45. skinsrock says: Dec 9, 2011 12:57 PM

    All QB’s are confident & arrogant… They didn’t get to this position being soft… P Manning yells at people all the time… QB is the general, the president, the leader, & if he isn’t the best player on your team… You might not go too far. Because Cam Newton is the best player on that team, he can pull a Jordan.

  46. bigvinnyinjax says: Dec 9, 2011 1:08 PM

    So when he says “on his level” does he mean a mediocre rookie qb who has 13 TDs and 14 INTs?

    If so that’s good news for the rest of the NFC South.

    Arrogant jerk.

  47. dionoil says: Dec 9, 2011 1:08 PM

    Total non story, blown out of context. Keep up the good work, Cam

  48. bigvinnyinjax says: Dec 9, 2011 1:17 PM

    I’m sure this type of arrogance won’t sit well with his teammates. Hopefully daddy can smooth it over for him.

  49. cornersportsnet says: Dec 9, 2011 1:19 PM

    Cam could of worded it better but hes right ,management needs to step there game up and get some better players,people say show off i say a guy that wants to win some people say primadonna i say confident ……..get the man some better talent

  50. cornersportsnet says: Dec 9, 2011 1:24 PM

    Why is it every time a minority man shows some confidence hes arrogant and primadonna,no most of the time there confident and sure of themselves in there line of work.People been trying to break Cams back since his Auburn days and hes still standing ,same goes for Ozzie Guillen,and countless others

  51. ticalcaldwell says: Dec 9, 2011 1:27 PM

    Just a little better version of Vince Young….You have to pass from the pocket…..he can’t do it…..sorry guys….I know you are all dying for an African American QB that is elite…..not here yet……hes just not accurate….sorry

  52. catman72 says: Dec 9, 2011 1:28 PM

    There are players on every team who don’t really care about losing as long as they are getting paid. We’ve all seen interviews in the locker room of a losing team where you hear laughter in the background… some guys are just glad to be in the NFL and getting paid, sure they would rather win but either way, they are getting paid.

    This is what bothers Cam and he must have felt like he needed to say something about it in a public forum. On a team coming off a 2-14 season with a coach that had an “it is what it is” attitude like Fox, there are inevitably a few guys who have adopted a losers attitude and Cam wants them to step up or get out.

  53. charmcity207 says: Dec 9, 2011 1:40 PM

    Ego – anyone?

  54. pigskinswag says: Dec 9, 2011 1:46 PM

    bobbyyyd says:
    Dec 9, 2011 11:50 AM
    “Panthers will make the playoffs next season.”

    Okay, Antrel Rolle.

  55. whatswiththehate says: Dec 9, 2011 1:48 PM

    Cam is not an elite or superior QB, as far as, the media is concerned. It’s clear everything he says and does will be treated in the attitude of “is he being arrogant” because of that.

    There was nothing he said in that interveiw Rivera had not already expressed about Cam and the Panthers.

    When a coach says publically that he wished he had 11 more Cam’s on his team when asked, that is pretty much saying what Cam stated in the interview the media is trying to spin into something more.

  56. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Dec 9, 2011 1:48 PM

    I was one of the many who were skeptical of this kid. Those that are still skeptical either haven’t seen him play or are just flat out haters.

  57. cornersportsnet says: Dec 9, 2011 1:55 PM

    Hes way better than Vince Young and cam will get better,hes still raw just needs more experience and more film work,vince young is a career back up nothing more nothing less.some of the greats had lousy rookie seasons troy aikman,john elway skys the limit for Cam

  58. panther17 says: Dec 9, 2011 2:08 PM

    I watched the interview. I agree with him.

  59. rcali says: Dec 9, 2011 2:11 PM

    When ur a rookie, the coach needs to be making this statement. BTW, what are the coaches thinking by constanting QB sneaking this guy when the game is in hand? Concussion is just around the corner.

  60. mvpanthersfan11 says: Dec 9, 2011 2:12 PM

    @kaz the only words from cam quoted were “on my level”. Learn to read bro. He never reffered the his team as “The Panthers”

  61. zoxitic says: Dec 9, 2011 2:16 PM

    Sooner or later, who you truly are, will speak louder than the words you use.

  62. terrellblowens says: Dec 9, 2011 2:17 PM

    I love Cam’s attitude. He’s not saying he is better than the team, he is saying that he seems to be one of the only players who hasn’t been accustomed to playing for a team with a losing mentality. He has the desire to win despite being on a team with a losing culture, and I think that is an infectious attitude that will allow him and his team to accomplish everything they strive for.

    I never understood all the hate towards Cam. Yes his recruitment to Auburn may have been shady, but a ton of players around the nation have been involved in these under the table deals. It’s a flaw in the NCAA’s system that athletes can’t really do anything for pocket money. Cam has always been a hard worker with a great attitude and I think it’s ridiculous how much people are rooting for him to fail. I hope he keeps proving people wrong because he has all the makings of a great QB

  63. panther17 says: Dec 9, 2011 2:21 PM

    By the way, 26 TDs not 13.

  64. wtfchiefs says: Dec 9, 2011 2:26 PM

    And what exactly is the point of saying this publicly? What does it prove?

  65. pigskinswag says: Dec 9, 2011 2:27 PM

    cornersportsnet says:
    Dec 9, 2011 1:24 PM
    Why is it every time a minority man shows some confidence hes arrogant and primadonna,no most of the time there confident and sure of themselves in there line of work.People been trying to break Cams back since his Auburn days and hes still standing ,same goes for Ozzie Guillen,and countless others
    ___________________________________

    As a minority man myself, I take great offense to the “race card” being played here. You can blame the “media” all you want for “twisting” it, but I think it came out just the way he wanted it to. Newton is arrogant and full of himself and that has nothing to do with him being an African American. A little arrogance is good, but not when you throw your team under the bus and position yourself as being better than they are. The fact that you are implying that he is being called arrogant because of his race is ridiculous. Since you brought up Ozzie Guillen, what does his race have to do with his chronic lack of tact? So I guess he curses everyone out because he’s a minority? Dude, throw the “race card” out of your deck and play the rest of your hand. SMDH.

  66. johnnyuminus says: Dec 9, 2011 3:00 PM

    Cam Newton’s criticism is extremely self-centered. Steve Smith is the Panthers player having the best year. Take away Weeks 1 & 2 and Cam’s passing performance is mediocre at best (2443 yards 10 TD and 10 INT). Perhaps if Cam was on Steve’s level, Steve would be league leader. Instead, Cam should be telling his teammates to get on Steve Smith’s level.

  67. earthtopft says: Dec 9, 2011 3:13 PM

    Easy for The Giant Newt to say, but everyone can’t attain Iconic Legend status overnight. I mean, they’re only human.

  68. cannonballdookie says: Dec 9, 2011 3:17 PM

    I agree with what he says in this interview, if you actually listen to it in context he makes a lot of great points and sounds like the kind of QB any team would dream of having. He wants to keep getting better and is never content, and just wants his teammates to have the same drive as he does. Doesn’t seem like a guy who’s going to slack off and get content with where he’s at.

  69. Slim Charles says: Dec 9, 2011 3:19 PM

    Anyone who interprets this like he was criticizing his teammates needs to get their head examined. If it were Tim Tebow saying something like this I guarantee people would be lining up to blow him because of his leadership. Newton is the best thing to happen to that team since they went to the Super Bowl.

  70. philtration says: Dec 9, 2011 3:35 PM

    Yes he has thrown some picks but come on.
    He is 12 games into his rookie season and he has 3,300 passing yards with 13 TDs and a 82.4 passer rating and has rushed for 518 yards with another 13 TDs.
    He is on pace to throw for 4,400 yards with 17 TDs and rush for 700 yards with another 17 TDs.

    How often does a rookie QB account for almost 5,000 yards of offense and 34 TDs?
    Anyone that does not want their team’s QB (not just a rookie QB) to put up those kind of numbers is clueless about football.

  71. bigvinnyinjax says: Dec 9, 2011 3:41 PM

    It’s 13 passing touchdowns. Quarterbacks are, and probably always will be judged by touchdowns THROWN.

    I don’t care how many he rushes for. If he throws more INTs than TDs then he’s got a ton of work left to do, and should consider keeping his trap shut.

    I just don’t know about the qb on a losing team popping off at the mouth about how great he is.

  72. bubba9er says: Dec 9, 2011 3:42 PM

    I am reminded of another young quarterback that didn’t experience a lot of losing before coming to the NFL. This quarterback has taken his team from 1-4 to atop the AFC west after taking over. I am not a Tebow fan; frankly he annoys me, but I couldn’t imagine Tim Tebow saying something like what Cam said about his own team. I’m just saying.

    Just because something is true doesn’t mean it is right to say it. My 4-year-old knows that.

  73. wrxman says: Dec 9, 2011 3:55 PM

    He is right that team was horrible last year, and was way to complacent. As a Redskins fan I know the ills of terrible play from the top on down. One big problem is we can’t expect the team to raise it’s level to that of Rex Grossman. So Carolina is in much better shape than the Skins just based on that premise alone

  74. panther17 says: Dec 9, 2011 4:19 PM

    26 TD not 13.

    It’s Cam’s and the Panthers offense job to score, whether through the air or on the ground. Which the Panthers are top 5 scoring offense.

    The O is doing their job. Cam is doing his job.

    A TD is a TD. You can’t take rushing TD away from him to justify bashing.

    26 TD, not 13.

  75. bulldogslc says: Dec 9, 2011 4:23 PM

    Coming on a team who obviously accepted losing as a given, I understand where he is coming from…could he came across in a better way? You bet…remember he is young and not only is he learning to be a NFL QB, but a man as well….Keep it up Cam….you’ve come along way since your Gator days.

  76. axespray says: Dec 9, 2011 4:51 PM

    CKL says:Dec 9, 2011 12:50 PM
    “What’s arrogant is that superman TD thing he does..hate it. Hate it with any QB, not just him. It was wise of Rodgers to stop doing that belt thing which I also hated.”
    ——————————-
    Aaron only does the belt when he rushes for TDs, same for Cam, last I checked, it takes a lot of Hard work to become an NFL QB and this is america, they should be allowed to do their “Taunts/dances” when they score TDs.

    If you think it’s “arrogant”, then put on some pads and go stop the guy from scoring, or better yet, go watch a chess match between computers, this is competitive sports, if you’re too sensative, then quit watching ma’am….

  77. thespeaker08 says: Dec 9, 2011 5:54 PM

    @ticalcaldwell has apparently not watched a single snap of Newton’s this season.

    “Can’t throw inside the pocket.”

    You’re thinking of every other running quarterback before him. This dude is so scary because of his ability to stand in the pocket. Not only that, his pocket presence is better than many starting veteran QB’s in the league much less being a rookie.

    Go watch one game and tell me different. You can’t.

  78. CKL says: Dec 10, 2011 12:46 AM

    axespray says:
    Dec 9, 2011 4:51 PM
    CKL says:Dec 9, 2011 12:50 PM
    “What’s arrogant is that superman TD thing he does..hate it. Hate it with any QB, not just him. It was wise of Rodgers to stop doing that belt thing which I also hated.”
    ——————————-
    Aaron only does the belt when he rushes for TDs, same for Cam, last I checked, it takes a lot of Hard work to become an NFL QB and this is america, they should be allowed to do their “Taunts/dances” when they score TDs.

    If you think it’s “arrogant”, then put on some pads and go stop the guy from scoring, or better yet, go watch a chess match between computers, this is competitive sports, if you’re too sensative, then quit watching ma’am….
    ____________________________
    Congrats, you are the only person in history who’s ever called me “too sensitive”. Usually I get called “too blunt”. :D

    I think it’s disrespectful for someone in a position of leadership to perform a “ME ME ME” gesture when they score because I believe that leaders should in all things (gestures, words, actions) be mindful of crediting their teammates and taking little to none for themselves. You don’t agree. You’re entitled to your opinion as am I. We’re allowed to have different opinions without your telling me to watch knitting or chess instead of football aren’t we?

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