Panthers players can’t argue lack of leadership

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On his way out the door, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said one of his regrets was not obtaining a leader, a Ray Lewis or Tom Brady type who would motivate the locker room from the inside out.

The Panthers he left behind had a hard time arguing that he had a point.

“Any time you’re losing, it’s hard to stand up and be somebody to say, ‘Look at me. Lean on me. Follow my lead,’ ” left tackle Jordan Gross said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “Everyone’s wired a little differently as far as what they’re comfortable saying

We’ve had a lot of speeches and a lot of words. I agree with what Marty said about guys having to step up at all different levels.”

The lack of leadership manifests itself in close games, and the record is self-explanatory. They’re 1-9 in games decided by a touchdown or less under head coach Ron Rivera (7-15 overall).

“If that’s what he feels, that’s what he feels,” wide receiver Steve Smith said. “Things are said for a reason, and it’s not all just to say [it]. He’s right.

“But because a guy steps up and does or doesn’t say anything, that still doesn’t change what our record is. We’ve got to play better and do things better.”

Of course, Hurney wasn’t talking about his veteran wide receiver or left tackle.

The guy who needs to bear the burden, quarterback Cam Newton, said the deposed GM “hit the nail on the head.”

“For a competitor, you don’t start looking out and saying, ‘Who is he talking about?’ ” Newton said. “You take on the challenge and say I can improve a lot more on my leadership just like this particular person, that particular person, this position, that position, that coach, whoever you are.”

Two of the guys they were counting on for such a role are already on injured reserve (Jon Beason and Ryan Kalil).

But if Newton assumes the mantle in more than words, and Luke Kuechly grows into the role on the other side now that he’s officially the middle linebacker of the future, the Panthers might have the next generation of leaders in place, with a nothing-to-lose year in front of them to prove it.

13 responses to “Panthers players can’t argue lack of leadership

  1. If Newton can start using adversity to inspire him, instead of allowing it to cause him to mope and point the finger at others, the guy has all the talent in the world to be a difference-maker in this league for a long time.

    If Newton fails in the NFL, it’ll be because he lacked the mettle that the makes the great ones great.

    I like Cam — he’s fun to watch. I hope he learns his lessons and gets it together. If he fails, he’ll only have himself to blame.

  2. Winning WILL cure all of this…unfortunately, Panthers should expect their woes to continue until at least week 9.

  3. isn’t this a bit like the baseball debate about “grittiness” or the “it” factor?

    baseball is more completely describable by stats, but it seems to me that people pinning the Panthers’ woes on lack of “leadership” are the same people who said Peyton Manning didn’t have “it” in the years before the Colts won the Super Bowl.

    the Panthers have a talent issue, and have too many holes on their roster to compete.

  4. Kuechly is one of the youngest players in the league. Newton one of the youngest starting QBs. Will be a couple of years before they can really assert themselves with conviction.

  5. panthers are the only team worse than cowboys in terms of leadership… sad to see cam slumping in 2nd season…

  6. I believe in Cam and he will prove all you rednecks wrong! I still remember a few morons calling him out after a pick in his second game after throwing for over 400 ids against the pack. You may tick him off and will miss him when he leaves. Take the Romney blinders off fools!

  7. Seems like Cam Newton is shouldering a lot of the blame himself. He’s only a 23 year old kid in his seconds NFL season. Shouldn’t someone like Steve Smith be counted on as a leader? The Panthers need to prop up Newton a little more instead of blaming him for taking the losses so hard. Maybe some of the veterens on the team should take the losses the same way. Newton will be fine. Remember when Tiki Barber was making fun of Eil Manning as a leader. Who’s laughing now?

  8. Cam needs to grow up, thing aren’t going as he wants so step up and make plays. He has picked the wrong guys to hang around with. Smith is not a leader and the game has passed Moon, so find someone else to lean on. Come on sweethart you can do it!

  9. Cam is fun to watch, but until he drops the ME attitude and picks up the TEAM attitude, he’s not going to be a leader.

    Speaking of dropping, Cam should also dump his phony and kind of pathetic towel on the head routine that screams, “Look at me, look at me… I’m a cultural icon wanna be!”

  10. How can Newton lead when he hides under that towel when they are losing, throws coaches under the bus in press conference, calls a reporter “sweetheart” and ask for a suggestion box like he is a manager at chuck E. cheese.

    Team is a train wreck.

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