For the Panthers to have a chance this year, quarterback Cam Newton is going to have to continue to play at a high level, but do more to lift those around him up.
And toward that goal, the new-old offensive coaching staff is trying to streamline things.
With Rob Chudzinski gone to Cleveland, new coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey have kept many of the principles of the system, but tried to adapt the way Newton’s calling plays to make him more comfortable.
“Twins Right, Key Left, 631 Smash M sounds completely different than Twins Right Tampa,” Newton said, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, comparing play calls from last year and this year. “It comes out your mouth faster. You get in the huddle, it’s the same exact play. Everyone knows that.
“It’s not tricking ourselves. We don’t want to trick ourselves, we want to trick the defense. It’s not saying a whole novel, it’s not saying a riddle either. It’s calling a play, executing it and performing.”
A quarterback has to convey a lot of information to teammates in a short amount of time, setting the play, the formation it’s run from, pass routes and protections.
And the old mouthful of play call is reminiscent of Jon Gruden putting Newton on the spot with a bunch of coaching jargon during a pre-draft television show.
Frankly, trying to make a player recite the Pledge of Allegiance just to run a football play smacks more of coaching ego than superior intellect.
Newton seemed able to run successful plays in college by numbers, and if they’re being run properly, whether they’re called 36, Al or Operation Overlord shouldn’t matter.
Unfortunately for too many players, too many coaches feel like their plans are so detailed, smart and important that to call them by anything other than the ingredient list on a can of Spam demeans their brilliant work.
The Panthers seem willing to set that hubris aside, and let Newton call the play in a way he feels comfortable communicating.