Jake Delhomme understands the pressure on Cam Newton


There are no real one-to-one correlations to Cam Newton’s place in Charlotte right now.

Prior to the Panthers drafting him first overall last year, the city’s biggest sports personality was a basketball player with a national shoe deal which required him to wear a dress for commercials (Larry Johnson as Grandmama).

But perhaps the guy who can most closely identify with him is former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, who came out of nowhere to lead the team to a Super Bowl in his first year as a starter. And having been to the highest highs, and had the city turn on him after a disastrous game in the 2008 playoffs, Delhomme knows about pressure.

They’ve sort of hung the moon on Cam in Charlotte,” Delhomme said, via Steve Reed of the Associated Press. “The expectations on him to lead this franchise are incredible. We have to remember he’s 23 years old. He’s still a kid.”

Truth be told, Newton’s numbers aren’t that different after five games this year as last. But the Panthers are 1-4, he’s coming off his worst game as a pro, and a bye week is keeping him from changing the narrative in a town that’s down.

Delhomme said Newton has to keep it from being all about himself, having gone through a similar downturn in 2004. The Panthers followed their Super Bowl berth with a 1-7 start which included losing Steve Smith to a broken ankle in the opener, and Delhomme felt the pressure.

“I’m thinking, man what am I doing wrong?” Delhomme said. “You find yourself preparing as hard you can, watching as much film as you can and then you’re like, ‘Why isn’t coming through during the game?’ It just eats you up. It tears you apart. But finally I realized I was trying to do too much. You have to trust what you do and not try to do too much.

“There’s a fine line there.”

The burden on Newton might not be fair, but it is real. How his team responds will depend largely on how he plays, and the careers of players and coaches and staff hang in the balance.

11 responses to “Jake Delhomme understands the pressure on Cam Newton

  1. It’s sad to see these young guys not given a chance to develop he had success last year because he was talented and nobody had seen enough film in a pro offense of him . Now they have and he’s going to struggle he’s not a surprise anymore but he’s still very young , but to the fans credit they see what he’s getting paid and believe he should earn that money now not later he will figure it out and either sink or swim ….

  2. I know I’m going to be disgusted when the comments get going on this one and people start senselessly ripping JD. Truth is he’s the exact opposite of Newton: completely selfless, a great teammate and though he didn’t have 1/4 the physical skills Newton does and was never an elite QB, he willed his team to win in much worse circumstances and was a fantastic leader and made clutch plays a lot of the time. Steve Smith never called him out in the media either, and he was always chosen a captain by his team even coming off that terrible playoff outing. Beware the starting QB that isn’t ELECTED captain by his team. There’s always a reason for it, and it’s not a good thing. JD even got chosen captain in Cle in 2010 coming off a down year with another team. That speaks volumes about his character, work ethic etc.

    If Newton had everything JD has plus his own physical skills, he’d be the best QB on the NFL BAR NONE. He’s be wise to have a meeting with JD.

  3. How to fix Panthers and Cam:

    – Cut Jimmy Clausen. Why keep him? He will never play another non-preseason down for the Panthers. Cut him and give him the opportunity to land somewhere else. I like the kid – but this is a no-brainer to me.

    – Sign Jake as the 3rd and mentor. The cagey veteran can mentor and run scout team and best of all – retire a Panther.

    – Bring back Shockey – we miss him from last year.

    – Give Plax a look

    – Defense is too big a mess for this fan to fix. 🙂

  4. The bottom line is Cam Newton is to worried about making his “Brand” instead of working on football. He’s already got payed. The guy needs to change his attitude because one good year in the NFL is nothing.

  5. This guys runs his mouth non-stop and when he scores a TD its always about him, the greatest QB ex-teut. Newton even does his superman thing, so why do folks in NC believe hes superman? Cause he says he is. Of course when he loses, he does what superman usual does, he runs and hides on the bench under a vail of white criptenyte(towel). The guy really is not a team player.

  6. Cam has plenty of faults right now, but before you get to bashing Cam on the “he’s not a captain” thing, note the following…

    1- Normally there are only 2 offensive captains

    2- Most 2nd year players don’t have the locker room cred to be voted to be a captain

    3- when you have two vets on your offense that have been in the league over 10 years, both have multiple pro bowls and have been to a super bowl, what 2nd year qb would be voted captain already.

    p.s. I am referring to Gross and Smitty

  7. look at all the love for JD… the human interception machine… people calling him clutch…
    he would throw 3 picks in first half and then throw 2 TDs in second half and then the game would end with an interception…

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