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Ron Rivera confident Cam Newton will avoid a sophomore slump

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After Panthers quarterback Cam Newton far exceeded expectations as a rookie, his coach isn’t worried at all about a sophomore slump.

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told the Charlotte Observer that Newton’s work ethic is as impressive as his athletic talent, and as a result Newton looks like he’s going to be better in 2012 than he was in 2011.

“I will say this about a sophomore slump – if there’s anybody that’s going work through it, he’s going to work through it,” Rivera said. “When the season was over, one of the things he said was he wanted to find a way to make sure he didn’t have one. I think the less we talk about it, the less we get caught up in it, the better. It’s like the Madden curse, he really wanted to be the cover. I think that’s the thing. Instead of running from it, saying, oh, I hope it doesn’t happen – it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to let it happen. I think that’s his approach to the sophomore slump.”

The No. 1 overall pick the year before Newton, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, had a sophomore slump in 2011, and Newton set such a high bar for himself last year with 4,000 passing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns that it’s going to be difficult for him to match his rookie production. So a sophomore slump wouldn’t be a shock. But Rivera sees Newton work every day, and it would be a shock to him.

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51 Responses to “Ron Rivera confident Cam Newton will avoid a sophomore slump”
  1. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: May 20, 2012 11:13 AM

    Why not? He didn’t even have the benefit of a camp last year and was sensational.

    Remember all of the posters here that were loudly predicting that Newton would be a bust?

  2. vekin1648 says: May 20, 2012 11:17 AM

    Kevin Smith was talking about the Panthers when he said the sky is the limit for an offense.

  3. ottawabrave91 says: May 20, 2012 11:22 AM

    that’s awesome that he actually wants to work. and he has the God given ability. hard work is nothing without talent though

  4. phillyjarrod says: May 20, 2012 11:30 AM

    Cam has a lot to live up to after his record setting rookie year… I’m anxious to see how he performs this year…

  5. fernjag says: May 20, 2012 11:30 AM

    Cam is a good player. And he is good for the game. But I think it will be hard to build on the success he had last year. The league usually catches up to your game in the second year. He set the bar very high in his first year.

  6. teal379 says: May 20, 2012 11:36 AM

    butthatmakestoomuchsense says:May 20, 2012 11:13 AM

    Remember all of the posters here that were loudly predicting that Newton would be a bust?

    I’m glad we’ve reached the point in the NFL where a guy can be considered a star and HOF material with only 1 good year of playing – personal stat wise.

    No longer does a person have to put together a solid career, lead their team to meaningful post season wins and produce over time before we consider them having “arrived”.

    Glad we’re not in the NFL anymore that would just wait until a guy has proven himself over a couple of seasons before we’ve deterimed what their legacy is.

    Yep – one year is all it takes……

    Scott Mitchel for the HOF!

  7. datdangdrewdundunituhgin says: May 20, 2012 11:41 AM

    i’ll admit i thought this guy wasn’t going to be worth a first overall. and wow was i wrong. he’s no one year wonder, either. health permitting, he’s going to be terrorizing the NFL for a long time. panthers made a very good choice.

  8. thekiller678 says: May 20, 2012 11:46 AM

    When it’s all said and done, Newton will be his own category concerning all time NFL QBs. Not saying he’s gonna be better than Montana, but just his style. He’s fast like Vick but also big and Strong like Big Ben which will prevent injury. His arm strength is great and his accuracy and decision making will only improve. Could he have the first 20-20 year int he NFL ever? It’s possible.

  9. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: May 20, 2012 11:52 AM

    @teal379 – it’s a team sport, and ONE player can’t take the worst team in football to a “meaningful post season” (whatever that means) in one year.

    Football isn’t tennis or bowling, where it all falls on person’s shoulders.

  10. chadmurdigan says: May 20, 2012 11:52 AM

    “Remember all of the posters here that were loudly predicting that Newton would be a bust?”

    Uh, what was Cam’s win/loss record again from last year?

    Unless Cam’s attitude changed from ME to TEAM during the off-season, this year the Cats’ record will be worse than last year. Put that loud prediction down on paper, Butthat…

  11. tigershark49 says: May 20, 2012 11:54 AM

    I expect Cam Newton to be even better during his second season. They are building & he will have the experience.

  12. dryzzt23 says: May 20, 2012 11:59 AM

    I am rooting against the cheater aka Cam Newton – and I am an Auburn grad.

    His track record of cheating, plus his massive ago have really caused me to not like him.

    IMO he got lucky, now NFC defenses are wise to him and he will become Akili Smith

  13. illiniftw says: May 20, 2012 12:00 PM

    Will be interesting to see how he handles himself IF he starts to slump. Sounds like he’s willing to put in the work though which is good.

  14. fernjag says: May 20, 2012 12:00 PM

    I don’t know how successful Cam will be in his second year, but I do know one thing, he won’t be in the league much longer if he doesn’t change his style. Last year he had 700 yards rushing. In comparison, Ben Roethlisberger had 70! Next year, corners and safetys will be expecting to see him running down the field, and they will stick him.

  15. charger88 says: May 20, 2012 12:12 PM

    The only place SUCCESS comes before WORK is in the dictionary. It’s refreshing to see a #1 pick actually realize it especially when his god given talent is off the charts.

  16. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: May 20, 2012 12:14 PM

    chadmurdigan says: May 20, 2012 11:52 AM

    Uh, what was Cam’s win/loss record again from last year?

    Uh, he didn’t have one.

    I’m looking at the NFL Standings from 2011 and I don’t see a team called the Cam Newtons.

    I do see a team called the Carolina Panthers whose defense couldn’t stop anyone. Not sure what the QB is supposed to do about that. Uh.

  17. KIR says: May 20, 2012 12:19 PM

    @ teal379

    butthatmakestoomuchsense says:May 20, 2012 11:13 AM

    Remember all of the posters here that were loudly predicting that Newton would be a bust?

    I’m glad we’ve reached the point in the NFL where a guy can be considered a star and HOF material with only 1 good year of playing – personal stat wise.

    No longer does a person have to put together a solid career, lead their team to meaningful post season wins and produce over time before we consider them having “arrived”.

    Glad we’re not in the NFL anymore that would just wait until a guy has proven himself over a couple of seasons before we’ve deterimed what their legacy is.

    Yep – one year is all it takes……

    Scott Mitchel for the HOF!
    _______________________________
    What’s crazier proclaiming a player a bust before his first snap or considering a player a star after one season?

  18. KIR says: May 20, 2012 12:27 PM

    @ dryzzt23

    I am rooting against the cheater aka Cam Newton – and I am an Auburn grad.

    His track record of cheating, plus his massive ago have really caused me to not like him.

    IMO he got lucky, now NFC defenses are wise to him and he will become Akili Smith
    _______________________
    Judge a man for the rest of his life for a minor indiscretion at 19? Wow, let’s speak to some people who really know you and see what they have to say about your character. I have a pretty good idea of what they’ll say.

  19. blkmanwtan says: May 20, 2012 12:33 PM

    Big Ben had 70 yds and Newton had 700 plus, but it was Big Ben who was injured at the end of the season. Also, Newton does not take a lot of hits running because he goes down before anyone can hit him.

  20. Buttsnake says: May 20, 2012 12:38 PM

    Outstanding year and the kitties could only win 6 games. That’s pathetic

  21. malekmj says: May 20, 2012 12:59 PM

    And in other news……coach thinks his team is going to be good this year.

    Shocker

  22. panther21384 says: May 20, 2012 1:05 PM

    I could care less if Cam has an equally great year statistically wise. He can easily win more games and have lower passing yards and fewer rushing touchdowns. The question isn’t about his slump the question is the rest of the team going to step up and get on his level. If that happens he doesn’t need all those crazy stats.

  23. jbpanthers says: May 20, 2012 1:06 PM

    Hmmm what was Peyton Manning’s record his rookie year? 3-13

    Aaron Rodgers first year starting? 6-10

    Skeptics can keep doubting Cam, and he’s gonna prove you wrong AGAIN. Ego? Hmmm his teammates sure love him and say he’s a very hard worker.

  24. hedleykow says: May 20, 2012 1:13 PM

    I’d love to see the Panthers take down the Saints, twice.

  25. jason1980 says: May 20, 2012 1:30 PM

    You would love to see the Panthers take down the Saints twice, isn’t that precious?? The Saints are the golden standard, granted….but really now, the SAINTS???? The Panthers need way more in their tank to handle the smash mouth Saints. That was a cute sentiment though. Lol.

  26. jbuckland0421 says: May 20, 2012 1:31 PM

    Cam Newton is a beast, I highly believe he’ll be at an elite level in a couple years, heck I’d start him at linebacker too. Could use the help

  27. jm8ch10 says: May 20, 2012 1:54 PM

    Cam Newton has quite a following on this board. You guys might want to slow down on anointing him the next big thing. Lets see a couple more years of consistent play. You have to realize that defenses will play him differently. Vick had some early success but after they started boxing him in the pockets he started falling apart.

  28. montsta says: May 20, 2012 2:18 PM

    fernjag says:
    May 20, 2012 12:00 PM
    I don’t know how successful Cam will be in his second year, but I do know one thing, he won’t be in the league much longer if he doesn’t change his style. Last year he had 700 yards rushing. In comparison, Ben Roethlisberger had 70! Next year, corners and safetys will be expecting to see him running down the field, and they will stick him.

    —–

    Lol. Corners and safeties saw him running last year and got the hell out of the way. Unless the average NFL safety and cornerback gains 4 inches and 40 lbs, they won’t be sticking Cam Newton.

  29. kayakattack says: May 20, 2012 2:21 PM

    Well the media really gave everyone a false advertisement. Everyone saw the talent, he’s a big guy with a big arm that can move and improvise… He was portrayed to us a a character problem, but all he showed everyone was how good of a player he was … So I think thats where all the anger comes from, nobody wants to see a bad guy succeed and we were all told he was a bad guy… So far, he’s had ZERO issues …

    As far as play goes, he can do some impressive things, but he has to become a better passer. Way too many picks, especially at the end of games…

    I don’t believe in guys getting lucky, but if Carolina had Taken Gabbert and he went to Jax, I wonder if he could have completed a pass… Gabbert is by far and large a more accurate passer, but Newton see’s the field so much better and was able to find targets. In the week 3 game mud fest, Gabbert seemed to have the edge actually… And Gabbert has more issues than a magazine… Newton is only in year one, so we will see… but don’t let what he did in his teens ruin your opinion of a good young player

  30. datdangdrewdundunituhgin says: May 20, 2012 2:30 PM

    not sure why the comparisons to early vick always pop up? vick was nowhere near the pocket passer cam is, and cam has lots of room to improve. if anything cam is more like steve young than anything, except steve young didn’t have the raw ability and size newton does. pretty sure steve young turned out okay, even with defenses playing him differently from year to year. vick was stoppable because he didn’t figure out how to stay in the pocket and use his freakishly strong arm. you did realize that cam had +4k yards passing in ADDITION to his +700 yards rushing, right? on a run-first team with only one true deep threat, right? so it’s kind of hard to not see a lot of sour grapes in the cam newton bashers. is he a HOF’er? hell no! but all this talk of people seeming to wish bad things upon the guy are pretty laughable, if he continues to work hard there’s gonna be a lot of you with bitter face when he starts winning the south year after year.

  31. jh500 says: May 20, 2012 2:51 PM

    jm8ch10 says:
    May 20, 2012 1:54 PM
    Cam Newton has quite a following on this board. You guys might want to slow down on anointing him the next big thing. Lets see a couple more years of consistent play. You have to realize that defenses will play him differently. Vick had some early success but after they started boxing him in the pockets he started falling apart.
    __________________________________

    No. Problem was that Vick was the laziest player in the NFL at the time and didn’t start studying film until he was 30.

  32. dryzzt23 says: May 20, 2012 3:01 PM

    Let’s get one thing straight:

    If Andrew Luck came out in 2011, there is no way the Panthers take Newton over Luck.

    So Newton can thank Luck for his success.

  33. hamcamnewton says: May 20, 2012 3:12 PM

    @kayakattack

    really? gabbert is more accurate? 49% completion vs 60%.. cam has better pocket presence and can move the chains with his feet, but you think gabbert is the more accurate one? cam is 1 inch taller so they both can see the field clearly, and newton zipped the ball into some really tight places.. gabberts play last year was very identical to jimmy clausen. “gabbert being far and large a more accurate passer” is by far the stupidest thing i have read in a while

  34. rushbacker says: May 20, 2012 3:27 PM

    For the record, Sam Bradford didn’t have a sophmore slump so much as he had a really bad case of Josh McDaniels.

  35. profootballwalk says: May 20, 2012 3:49 PM

    Less Madden cover talk, and fewer interceptions would be a good start.

  36. panther21384 says: May 20, 2012 3:53 PM

    First off Gabbert sucks almost as much as Clausen. Second I’m tired of people saying, “Cam has to change his style, people know he’s gonna run now”, are you kidding me? Dudes style of running is like nothing I’ve ever seen in a QB the way he angles while he runs, further more you might be stupid but nfl players and coaches arnt they knew he was gonna run and by the end of the season they had enough tape to stop him and guess what they couldn’t. If anything stopping him got even more problematic. Cam ain’t afraid of nobodies safety’s please, keep trying.

  37. nflfollower says: May 20, 2012 4:02 PM

    I think it will be difficult for him to throw as many INT’s as he did last year. Whoops…..I broke the rules, sorry. I forgot whenever discussing Cams rookie season or his stats, we are never supposed to mention turnovers. Because those don’t matter when it comes to wins and losses right? That’s why he won how many games?….. Aaah shucks, I keep forgetting those rules!

  38. catman72 says: May 20, 2012 4:20 PM

    Ah yes, let’s measure a QB by his win/loss record.

    Pssst, Troy Aikman was 1-15 his rookie season.

    It’s the new slogan for the guys who were sure Cam was going to bust, he had the greatest rookie season in the history of the game, so now it’s “well how many games did he win”.

  39. fatfreddystubbs says: May 20, 2012 4:47 PM

    I agree you can’t say a guy is gonna be great based on one year, but the same people saying that had no problem saying he would be a bust based on NO years.

    Remember all the “he’s another Jamarcus”. Yeah, they’re both from the SEC and black, so i guess they HAVE to be exactly the same.

  40. mempusa says: May 20, 2012 5:01 PM

    This kid is the real deal. I’ve been saying it since the first Auburn highlight I saw of him on SC. With how soft the rules are, he’s built to crush in this league. He’ll be playing for a SB next year I believe.

  41. CKL says: May 20, 2012 5:36 PM

    rushbacker says: May 20, 2012 3:27 PM

    For the record, Sam Bradford didn’t have a sophmore slump so much as he had a really bad case of Josh McDaniels.
    __________________________________
    Forserious.
    Aren’t you a Pats fan too? I think you and I are the only ones who don’t care for the guy (if my impression from your comment here is correct). I’m SO THRILLED he’s back. Not.

    Newton had to play catch up at times since his defense was so decimated. He trailed off a little towards the end of the year which was the result of multiple things such as maybe the rookie wall, defenses having more film, etc. He might be a better player ans still have lower #s, which wouldn’t necessarily be the result of a “slump” and they win more games this season.

  42. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects says: May 20, 2012 5:40 PM

    based on a lot of the negative, petulant, girly, and frankly misinformed things that some of you people post bashing cam, i bet many of you “doubters” have even watched him play in a single game.

  43. mistermayhem7 says: May 20, 2012 7:00 PM

    The NFL needs to back off of this. They can’t own this, Renown has no rights to these words, I don’t care how it’s portrayed or what shape it’s in. Don’t screw with religion or you might lose more than you want. Just saying.

  44. pantherpro says: May 20, 2012 8:16 PM

    Cam will be the MVP of NFL this year. You hicks in Charlotte dont deserve him. What do you expect from a fan base that supported racist Gingrich and Romney the clown! Freaking clueless!

  45. ncarolinarn7 says: May 20, 2012 8:30 PM

    With all the Marxist/Socialist junk taking place in our nation and you have fire in your belly to spew over a football player. No one in here knows what any year brings with markets, nations, or sports teams. How do you respond to what’s important in this world?? My team is better than your team? Good grief.

  46. djm426 says: May 20, 2012 9:39 PM

    A lot of these quick to run qb’s have early success but good defenses figure them out

  47. thegreatgabbert says: May 21, 2012 12:27 AM

    Not as stupid as he looks. Newt can spell CAM if you spot him the C and the A.

  48. tgcpanthersfan says: May 21, 2012 1:00 AM

    I am sorry I have to stop you guys before some of you sound even more stupid than you already do.

    The Following is a segment of a blog put out by NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell.

    “I watched every Newton snap in 2011, and the reality was he played exceptionally well from the pocket. He was poised and composed, decisive and accurate. He stood tall and delivered the ball in the eye of the storm. He made difficult throws into tight coverage. He did not run unless it was the last and only option or it was a designed play call. What was so extraordinary about Newton’s season was that he transitioned to the NFL in a manner that was unexpected and unforeseen based on his college résumé. He was primarily a run/option quarterback at Auburn. While the big arm and occasional NFL throw were there, Newton was not often asked to display the attributes necessary to thrive on Sundays.”

    and here is the link if you want to read an actually educate yourself some on Cam Newton

    http://nflfilms.nfl.com/2012/05/17/cosell-talks-newton-stafford-on-the-rise/

  49. hedleykow says: May 21, 2012 2:26 AM

    Wow, check out the commentary above about Marxists and Socialists and Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

    Takes all kinds, I guess.

  50. kenyonsupertramp says: May 21, 2012 2:54 AM

    Fear these Panthers.

  51. jgedgar70 says: May 21, 2012 10:40 AM

    What I don’t get is how a man can do a bunch of stupid/illegal things when he’s 18 years old, and then have his father commit an illegal act in his name, and everyone condemns the man and screams from the rooftops that the man is evil, should not be permitted to pursue his occupation of choice, and that since he did all those bad things at 18 and has such a scumbag for a father, this man will always be that 18-year-old and a clone of his father. It is impossible for him to mature and become a productive, law-abdiding member of society. He is, in fact, so incapable of maturing that when you are evaluating him for his chosen profession, you must accuse him of things he was never accused of before.

    While Cam was at Blin College and Auburn, he was NEVER accused by his teammates of being an egotistical, me-first player. ESPN’s talking heads made that up out of thin air. He was never accused of having a poor work ethic. Mike Mayock made that up out of thin air.

    So Cam becomes a professional football player. His first year, he accomplishes more, on an individual basis, than any first-year player in the history of the sport. The made-up-out-of-thin-air issues never materialize. He did not do any of the illegal/immoral things he did when he was 18. Even his scumbag father stayed in the background and was not an issue.

    So what happens in the time between the first and second seasons? People make the same accusations and character assassinations they did the year before. I don’t get you people.

    As for whether or not he has a “sophmore slump,” it depends on how you define it. If he puts up exactly half the individual stats in 2012 compared to 2011, but the Panthers win twice as many games, it will be a wildly successful season. Personally, I expect him to throw for 3,500 yards, run for 400, account for 40 touchdowns, and the Panthers will win 11 games and the NFC South.

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