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Jaws: Tape says Cam Newton can be a “special passer”

Cam Newton Pic Getty Images

Coming out of Auburn, 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton was billed in many circles as a run-first quarterback who played in a gimmicky college spread offense and would struggle to make NFL throws. After 16 games, Newton established himself as the most prolific rookie quarterback in league history.

And based on game film, as ESPN’s Ron Jaworski explained on SportsCenter Tuesday, Newton has the potential to develop into a truly special thrower of the football.

“No one is a great quarterback in the NFL because of the way they run,” Jaws explained. “… [Newton] played very well from the pocket. … What also stood out was Newton’s patience in the pocket. And his ability to sit on his back foot and cut it loose. He made seam throws that were firm and required arm strength, yet demanded touch.

“Newton hung in the pocket and delivered without flinching. He was very good in the eye of the storm. This kid is a big-time talent. He still needs more experience, but the traits are there to be a special passer.”

Jaws views Newton’s passing ability as the most critical aspect of his quarterbacking chops, but doesn’t dismiss Newton’s running ability. It’s particularly helpful on third downs and in the red zone.

“It starts with passing, but [Newton’s] ability to break down a defense with his legs gives him an edge like few have ever had,” Jaworski said. “The read-option in the red zone is an added dimension that Newton brings. His speed is a decisive factor.

“One element I’ve talked about discussing Aaron Rodgers is the ability on third down to defeat man coverage by running. Newton gives you that same quality. That’s a real problem for a defense. It limits their coverage concepts.”

In daily SportsCenter segments produced by Greg Cosell of NFL Films, Jaworski is ranking the league’s top-30 quarterbacks. Cosell and Jaws have Newton ranked 15th, but Jaworski says there is potential for much more with experience.

“From a skill-set standpoint,” Jaws said, “Newton could easily rank higher than 15th on my big board. He’s a top-ten talent. He needs more snaps; one year is not enough. But I can’t wait to see him in a few months.”

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36 Responses to “Jaws: Tape says Cam Newton can be a “special passer””
  1. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Jun 26, 2012 11:24 AM

    Lets remember that he went 21 and 17 td:int with around 8 dropped picks.

  2. jaltreality says: Jun 26, 2012 11:27 AM

    As a Saints fan, I must begrudgingly agree. Looks like the Panthers have them a special and exciting player. Just wish he was playing in another division.

  3. CKL says: Jun 26, 2012 11:30 AM

    No question this kid has a lot going for him: A ton of ability, a great playcaller who caters to his strengths and some nice skill players around him. It’s entirely up to him how far he goes, since he has the right support from his team.

  4. dikhurtz says: Jun 26, 2012 11:32 AM

    How insightful !! The tape also says the Eagles were the team to beat last year, This dream team ” The Eagles ” will be the team that wins it all !! JOKE……

  5. brady100 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:32 AM

    I couldn’t have been more wrong about this guy coming out of college…the jury is still out, but I think Newton is going to be a very special player for years to come…

  6. flapjackdaddy says: Jun 26, 2012 11:36 AM

    He might be the 15th ‘best’ QB based off of last year’s tape, but if you are building a team, he’s arguably #1. I say arguably because Rodgers is right there…it’s just that Newton would give you 5 more years because of age.

  7. joetoronto says: Jun 26, 2012 11:37 AM

    Jaws is just stating the obvious.

    We all know Newton is a really special dude.

  8. realdealsteel says: Jun 26, 2012 11:41 AM

    It’s good that the Panthers finally have a chance at at top notch QB. All the others were average at best. Including Kerry Collins.

  9. qdog112 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:46 AM

    Jaws just confirms what many of us already knew and were willing to say before he donned an NFL jersey.

    Some of you remember me stating that if scientists went into the lab to design a QB, they would come out with Cam Newton. That’s how much I believed in his raw talent before the draft. More and more experts will come around.

  10. blacknole08 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:48 AM

    Jaws list is respectable, and I find it funny that Cam Newton is ranked one spot higher than Alex Smith. Cam needs another great season under his belt to become a top 10 QB in this league.

  11. Broncofanatic7 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:53 AM

    Sophmore Slump…..

  12. tennesseeoilers says: Jun 26, 2012 11:56 AM

    I’m not a Panthers fan or an Auburn fan, but I have to admit, this kid looks to become what we were told Michael Vick and Vince Young would be: The Michael Jordan of the NFL.

  13. True Talker says: Jun 26, 2012 12:21 PM

    andrejohnsonforpresident says:
    Jun 26, 2012 11:24 AM
    Lets remember that he went 21 and 17 td:int with around 8 dropped picks.

    ====================================

    What happened when he played Houston?

  14. triangletaddler says: Jun 26, 2012 12:25 PM

    You need tape to tell you Cam Newton is a good quarterback?

    Does the tape tell you Tony Romo is a choker?

  15. cooklynn17 says: Jun 26, 2012 12:26 PM

    He also said the Eagles would win the Superbowl.

  16. northshoresaint9 says: Jun 26, 2012 12:28 PM

    …He scares the crap out of me. Like all players w/ top-notch talent, I wish him nothing but the best. I just wish my Saints didn’t have 2 play him twice a year & possibly in the playoffs. Though, I think Newton gets his 1st postseason victory b4 whatshisface’ in Atl..

  17. anonymouslyanonymouscommentor says: Jun 26, 2012 12:30 PM

    But can he read defenses and make decisions with the best of them?

  18. slippyal2 says: Jun 26, 2012 12:31 PM

    I’m a fan of a different team, but this guy makes me tune into his games. Cam is a special talent.

  19. pftmaniac says: Jun 26, 2012 12:34 PM

    Let’s hold off on inducting this guy into the Pro Football Hall of Fame until he actually accomplishes something in the NFL.

    While his raw skills are clearly impressive, let’s see what happens now that the excellent defensive coordinators in the NFL have had a whole off-season to break down his game on film.

  20. seeschool says: Jun 26, 2012 12:42 PM

    “You need tape to tell you Cam Newton is a good quarterback?”

    Wow….you’ve advanced to the point of being able to determine how players play football without actually watching games?? Tell us all how you do it!!!

  21. tebowsafraud says: Jun 26, 2012 12:43 PM

    If I had a dollar for every time Jaworski used the phrase “skill set” I could retire….

  22. jwreck says: Jun 26, 2012 12:46 PM

    It’s hard to disagree with Jaws’ assessment, however, like Cosell, it’s unclear whether Jaworski has ever seen a quarterback he didn’t like, or that didn’t have special talent.

  23. snowpea84 says: Jun 26, 2012 12:47 PM

    He does have a huge advantage with defenses having to be aware of him taking off with the ball. If he can develop top level passing skills it will be something amazing to watch. Hopefully, he does that. Most of these athlete Qb’s benefit so much from that advantage that their passing skills never develop and the things they get away with most of the time….just don’t work at the highest level of the game (not just the NFL, but championship level NFL teams.)

  24. davidtmp says: Jun 26, 2012 12:50 PM

    andrejohnsonforpresident says:
    Jun 26, 2012 11:24 AM
    Lets remember that he went 21 and 17 td:int with around 8 dropped picks.

    Let’s not forget the Panther’s had NO defense last year due to a number of injuries to key players. They couldn’t stop anyone, making Newton have to throw it more.
    Aikman-9td 18int
    Manning- 26td 28int
    Elway- 7td 14int
    Those are rookie year numbers. Add Cams 14 rushing TD’s and it really isn’t even close. If he improves as much as those Hall of Famers did, and stays healthy, there is no way to predict the kinds of numbers he can put up. And yes, Peyton isn’t in the HOF, but he will be.

  25. mempusa says: Jun 26, 2012 12:57 PM

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, the Carolina Panthers will WIN the NFC SOUTH in 2012-13

    Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

    The Saints are in shambles and I don’t care what anyone says. You don’t have this much turmoil and perform at the top of your game. That’s EXACTLY what they’ll need to compete in the NFC South this year. Don’t sleep on the Bucs or Falcons either! The Saints could end up in the toilet if they don’t get their act together!

  26. jwreck says: Jun 26, 2012 1:01 PM

    Though, I think Newton gets his 1st postseason victory b4 whatshisface’ in Atl..
    _____
    Doubtful. While, it’s fair to say that Newton has a higher ceiling than Matt Ryan, Ryan is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL and has two receiving targets who are arguably superior to Steve Smith in Roddy White and Julio Jones. Tony Gonzalez is getting up there in years, but is still a better TE option than Greg Olsen. Setting Newton and Ryan aside however, Carolina’s only real advantage over Atlanta is the running game. And it’s difficult to see Carolina’s defense developing fast enough to not only make the playoffs but win a playoff game before Atlanta does.

    Secondly, as a New Orleans fan, your dislike of Matt Ryan makes sense, but to denigrate the kid to a “whatshisface” seems kind of excessive for one of the better young quarterbacks in the NFL. Ryan is a likeable guy, a team leader, and a good passer. Just because he’s not as exciting as the next big thing, Cam Newton, is no reason to dump on him.

  27. kcchiefsfandave says: Jun 26, 2012 1:12 PM

    He’s a heck of a player and made some great plays even in his bad games last year. I had the luxury of seeing quite a few Panthers games last year and I think his biggest flaw was his accuracy. He will improve and continue to give opposing defenses fits.

  28. nepaseahawk says: Jun 26, 2012 1:24 PM

    anyone who tries to downplay cams absurd abilities is only jealous that he isnt the qb of their team or are blind followers of alex smiths stupid theories

  29. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Jun 26, 2012 1:30 PM

    Let’s not forget the Panther’s had NO defense last year due to a number of injuries to key players. They couldn’t stop anyone, making Newton have to throw it more.
    Aikman-9td 18int
    Manning- 26td 28int
    Elway- 7td 14int
    Those are rookie year numbers. Add Cams 14 rushing TD’s and it really isn’t even close. If he improves as much as those Hall of Famers did, and stays healthy, there is no way to predict the kinds of numbers he can put up. And yes, Peyton isn’t in the HOF, but he will be.

    Lets just hope by the time he gets to old to do the over the goal line thing. (Which should be in a year or two once he finally does it and it costs him. Which I firmly believe should end this year unless they’re in the playoffs). He will be able to throw it in the redzone

  30. peytonwantsaflag says: Jun 26, 2012 1:49 PM

    Typical Jaws diarrhea of the mouth –

    “It starts with passing, but [Newton’s] ability to break down a defense with his legs gives him an edge like few have ever had,”

    Two come to mind right away – Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham – neither turned out to be what all the talking heads wanted them to be. Same is going to happen to Cam.

  31. keeppounding says: Jun 26, 2012 2:08 PM

    andrejohnsonforpresident says:
    Jun 26, 2012 11:24 AM
    Lets remember that he went 21 and 17 td:int with around 8 dropped picks.

    —————————————————————–

    Let’s remember not a single rookie qb in history played better than Cam Newton. Ever… Since football started…. Also, in football we call dropped picks pass deflections, write that down.

  32. thraiderskin says: Jun 26, 2012 2:11 PM

    I think what Newton did last year was amazing, but the NFL evolves quick when it comes to figuring out QBs. I think guys like Jaws need to temper their excitement for Cam. I don’t think he will flop, but I do think things will only get tougher.

  33. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects says: Jun 26, 2012 2:31 PM

    andrejohnsonforpresident says:
    Jun 26, 2012 11:24 AM
    Lets remember that he went 21 and 17 td:int with around 8 dropped picks.

    maybe you should stop and reflect on the beating cam gave your playoff bound texans last year on your home turf. what an embarrassment that must have been for you guys. cam pummeled your entire defense in every way imaginable….and he made it look fun!!! i look back fondly on that memory, how do you remember it?

  34. packernation90 says: Jun 26, 2012 2:34 PM

    I agree with everything Jaws said, i don’t agree with him ranking Cam as the 15th best QB in the NFL. There is not 14 QBs better than Cam right now, Cam is a top 10 guy right now, no question about it

  35. jgedgar70 says: Jun 26, 2012 2:42 PM

    jwreck says:
    Jun 26, 2012 1:01 PM

    Doubtful. While, it’s fair to say that Newton has a higher ceiling than Matt Ryan, Ryan is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL and has two receiving targets who are arguably superior to Steve Smith in Roddy White and Julio Jones. Tony Gonzalez is getting up there in years, but is still a better TE option than Greg Olsen. Setting Newton and Ryan aside however, Carolina’s only real advantage over Atlanta is the running game. And it’s difficult to see Carolina’s defense developing fast enough to not only make the playoffs but win a playoff game before Atlanta does.
    _____

    I respectfully disagree on the TE analysis. Gonzalez is still good, but Olsen is faster and his hands are just as good. He split time with Jeremy Shockey last year and was stuck in the Mike “I Hate All Tight Ends” offense before that. Olsen has tremendous potential.

    Additionally, the Panthers now have Mike Tolbert, who is listed as a fullback but for all intents and purposes is another TE.

    You make a good point about WR. A lot depends on how our rookie and 2nd-year guys (Joe Adams, Pilares, Gettis, LaFell) develop. We probably won’t have 2 elite guys like Atlanta does, but we could be deeper at WR.

    If Jon Beason and Thomas Davis are healthy, we’ll close the gap on defense.

    So I think it’s not too far-fetched to say that Cam might get a playoff win before Ryan. I’ll bet both of them win a playoff game before Brees wins another one though.

  36. jgedgar70 says: Jun 26, 2012 2:48 PM

    pftmaniac says:
    Jun 26, 2012 12:34 PM
    Let’s hold off on inducting this guy into the Pro Football Hall of Fame until he actually accomplishes something in the NFL.

    While his raw skills are clearly impressive, let’s see what happens now that the excellent defensive coordinators in the NFL have had a whole off-season to break down his game on film.
    _____

    Fret not, Rob Chudzinski is way ahead of you.

    All the offensive players that have talked to the media have said the recent OTAs and mini-camp were loaded with brand-new stuff Chud has devised since the end of last season to stay a step ahead of defenses.

    All of us in Carolina are really worried about what is going to happen to the development of Cam and the team after this season when we lose Chud to a head coaching job.

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