Ron Rivera says Cam Newton is still the future in Carolina


Nothing the Panthers have done this year has inspired confidence.

But Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he’s seen nothing to shake his belief that quarterback Cam Newton is the future of the franchise.

Via David Newton of, Rivera said it would be “difficult” and “very unfair” to judge Newton on this trainwreck of a 3-8-1 season.

In fairness to Newton, he wasn’t the one to decide to let a franchise left tackle retire without replacing him, or cost the team cap space by firing his one proven franchise wide receiver without replacing him. So Rivera probably has a point.

It didn’t help that Newton was slow to recover from offseason ankle surgery, which limited his mobility, and then suffered broken ribs in the preseason.

Coupled with a regularly shuffled offensive line and injuries that took away most of their run game, and it’s been a struggle for Newton.

“You go back and look at some of the teams that have struggled in the past that had great years [before],” Rivera said. “One that pops to mind right away was what happened at Atlanta last year.

“A couple of years ago they go to the NFC Championship Game and the next thing you know they’re struggling because they had a lot of things happen.”

Of course, there was more bad luck and less deliberate rebuilding involved in that collapse.

The Panthers have already picked up the 2015 option on Newton’s rookie deal, and the team has said throughout that doing a long-term deal was the priority. Given the collection of refuse around him on offense, it’s hard to gauge how that value might or might not have changed.

52 responses to “Ron Rivera says Cam Newton is still the future in Carolina

  1. If they don’t start winning games, the decision about Cam’s future won’t be Rivera’s to make.

  2. He didn’t look that bad on Sunday — looked to me that he had a couple very good throws. Most of the incompletions were throw-aways or inaccurate passes due to pressure.

  3. ” So Rivera probably has a point” Ya think? This season cannot be blamed on Cam or Rivera. There is one person to blame for decimating a 12-4 playoff team, some thought was second to Seattle in power ranking.

    That honor goes to GM Dave Gettleman, who single-handedly demolished the team. I’m a Panthers fan and I said from day one. It’s not like I’m kicking him while down.

    It was apparent in July, what would happen. He should be FIRED!

  4. Give him some help! I was down on Cam when he was drafted, but he showed many of us wrong. The dude can play. Considering they have no receivers and a different offensive line every week, I’d say they are lucky to have won 3 games. If you can’t protect the QB and give him a few targets it doesn’t matter who it is.

  5. This team needs to make a lot of shrewd decisions over the off-season, and they have more work to do now since they didn’t get an early start by making preemptive moves prior to the trade deadline or prior to the start of the season or prior to the start of this season’s off-season.

  6. A straight up trade — Cam Newton for Jay Cutler, makes sense to me.

    Both are hugely talented, stuck in bad situations, and could use a change of scenery and fresh start.

  7. Rivera was the toast of the town last year, all of sudden he can’t coach? Newton is and never will be a star QB. He’s nothing but a backup.

  8. Cam Newtown is not going to be what some and certainly the Panthers hoped he’d become. Look at guys like Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady who took crap and carved them into studs. Newtown is just not that type of QB.

  9. A straight up trade — Cam Newton for Jay Cutler, makes sense to me.

    I like that, but would also say that Rivera comes home to Chicago as DC as part of the deal.

  10. Cam is the future. Rivera is not. (Hopefully)
    Rivera was the toast of the town last year, all of sudden he can’t coach? Newton is and never will be a star QB. He’s nothing but a backup.
    Disagree with both the posters who made both these comments. i disagree with the first one on Rivera not being the future and i REALLY disagree with the guy who said Newton is nothing but a backup. you switch Newton and Kaepernick and the 49ers are in the playoff race with a better record while Kaepernick wins LESS than 3 games. as for Rivera, while i agree he’s not a great coach, he’s not THE issue. the issue was caused by not one, but TWO General Managers. Firstly it was on Marty Hurney who stupidly signed Williams and Stewart to huge deals and now current GM Gettleman is stuck with two old Running backs who should be paid LESS than Alfred Morris. As for what Gettleman did wrong, well let’s start with Smith, you let your best WR walk out the door along with others and don’t even bother to sign Hakeem Nicks (who at least would’ve been a good 2nd WR for Carolina) then you draft Benjamin (good move), then in round 2 get a DE (bad move) and so far, so not great for that DE while the guy i think they should’ve gotten (Landry) is doing well in Miami and to make it worse, the Panthers didnt even try to draft a tackle who i liked in Seantrel Henderson. so they passed on Landry and didnt use a 5th round pick (which if i were Carolina is where i would’ve picked him) on Henderson….bad move and to make matters worse, they could’ve/should’ve signed Isaiah Crowell as an undrafted free agent. so that’s 4 bad moves that they didnt do that i would’ve done if i were their GM….the issue is with the GMs and their mistakes.

  11. Just like Michael Vick, people will continue to make excuses for Cam Newton.

    All the way to retirement.

  12. Cam will probably be the future and end for one more head coach before it’s all said and done.

    Cam despite growth still lacks major maturity. He is not a dynamic threat in the run game and he still does not read defenses with any sense of confidence.

    But because he was a first round draft pick, he’ll be allowed to get another coach fired before ownership accepts the fact that all his GM’s and coaches ruined Cam’s chances to be the best QB ever.

    Altogether not accepting responsibility that Cam just didn’t have it in him to be that great.

    I’m talking about Panthers ownership, not to be confused with Redskins ownership which mirrors this same story.

  13. Any QB with the Panther’s OL and offensive play calling would struggle. How the heck do you run a down the field passing game that is dependent on a strong run game when you have the worse OL in the league? Play calling and the offensive scheme along with the OL is the problem with the Panthers.

  14. The Panthers o-line is a joke and the main reason imo, that Cam is struggling. They lose in the trenches week after week. That group needs a complete overhaul. They also need better receivers for Cam, Cotchery and whoever else is not going to cut it as the number 2. In a perfect world (im not a panthers fan, this is purely hypothetical) somehow, someway draft Amari Cooper and Wes Welker is a free agent after this season, bring him in and make him the slot with cooper, and benj on the outside and you have a good tight end in Olsen already. Also need complete overhaul of the secondary

  15. Last year he “didn’t have receivers” but LaFell and Smith seem to be doing just fine with Flacco and Brady.

    I’m a Bears fan and we always have excuses for Cutler, much like Panthers fans have with Cam. At some point you have to blame the QB.

    Ask yourself this, will Cam stop overthrowing wrs with better ones, will he stop holding onto the ball too long because he’s not making quick decisions??

    Cam is a decent starting NFL QB. He’s not an elite QB and at this point it is hard to imagine he ever will be.

  16. Cam has one of the worst supporting casts in the NFL, he has Benjamin and Olsen with one of the worst O lines in the league and 2 mediocre running backs. Hard to say he’s to blame for their terrible season.

  17. Amending my previous comment. I thought Newton got an extension after last season. The way I understand it now, he is still playing on his rookie deal. I guess he wanted to stink it up so he doesn’t get a burdensome big money contract after this year. Either way, he just isn’t very good.

  18. First round pick must be the best O-Lineman available. Maybe 2nd also. Then deal or cut the RB’s that can’t contribute because they are never healthy. Use the $$$ on O-Line and a new RB. When Cam is not 100%……. switch to the backup! That’s why you have them!!!

  19. Cam broke so many records his first 3 years, showed he could beat teams with his arm multiple times, and lead them to a 12-4 record last year. He’s proven himself beyond any doubt.
    The problem starts with the budget, which the last GM blew. Now the Panthers are overpaying 3 often injured RBs, still paying huge sums to Steve Smith (cut), Charles Godfrey (cut), Charles Johnson (nice DE but not worth what Hurney gave him), Hardy (suspended), Kalil (the only guy maybe worth it). I think the Panthers were even paying off Jake Delhomme until a year or two ago. Atrocious cap management has left the team unable to fill the holes on the offensive line and defensive secondary. They got lucky with some bargain pieces last year, but it didn’t pan out this year.
    With that said, the major problems are Rivera and Shula. Awful game managers and play callers. Have no idea how to gameplan for their strengths or mask their weaknesses. 2 blocked punts for TDs in one game, 2 12-men-on-the-field in another. Sloppy and passionless play from most of the team. Riverdope stands there like a statue while they punt in the other teams territory, kick FGs on 4th-and-short in the red zone, kick when they are losing by multiple TDs. Its just bizarre to watch the conservative nature of this season, as if the coaching staff completely blacked out last year when aggressiveness led them to 12-4.

  20. Ya know, I agree Rivera should be canceled but thank god he won’t be replaced with you any of you moes. I swear we have the dumbest fan base of any nfl team. No wonder nobody wants to play for us. Don’t worry about cam being with is long term. He won’t sign with panthers. Neither will kuechly. I bet they can’t wait to leave carolina.

  21. Cam’s problem is he is still a kid and needs to grow up. But other than that he’s a great athlete and can be a great QB with help. That help won’t be under Rivera’s leadership. He has to go along with Shula. Having a very weak O-Line and sending in plays for Cam to throw 30+ yard passes on 3rd down is embarrassing. Almost never use a screen or a slant and I am sick of the off tackle slant run or dive. Both backs are great people, but injuries and time have taken their toll. Sorry but new blood is in order behind Cam. The other person that must go is Gettleman. His decision making set is terrible and without Benjamin he would be batting .000 this year. Panthers have some good and potentially quality players for the future, but they have a lot of 2nd and 3rd string guys in starting roles. Amari Cooper would help; Todd Gurley if he can stay healthy and please find the team a Special Team’s Coach.

  22. Wow Ron! Are you making excuses for Cam or laying the ground work to cover your own butt? You sound like every sales rep that fails…I need this or that…a sales rep needs to sell and Ron you need to win. That’s it!

    At this point I’d take competitive…

  23. “Last year he “didn’t have receivers” but LaFell and Smith seem to be doing just fine with Flacco and Brady. ”

    Last Year they went 12-4.

    Not sure you’re making the point you’re trying to make.

  24. Well Cam is the real deal and I will stick with Cam because when you have a QB then trn OC in Mike Shula what do you expect Cam’s season to look like after Chudzinski leaves. Chud leaves and Cam has to quit passing in favor for a run game.

    Come on people we went to 29th in passing last year. So why would Cam be excited about his year knowing that Andrew Luck is making him look bad on paper and Cam can’t do a thing about because of Rivera and Shula.

    Heck it makes me want to quit being a Panthers fan. I would have fired Shula week #4after 2 blow out games. They did at Alabama and replaced him with Nick Saban.

  25. Ron Rivera and management are fools if they think Cam is their future! The only future he is, many, many losses! Bail on that boy if you want a future!

  26. Just like Michael Vick, people will continue to make excuses for Cam Newton.
    the difference is Vick (early in his career) just ran, he rarely threw. Cam throws….Vick didnt have lots around him either, but he was CLEARLY a run first, pass second quarterback. Cam is a pass first, run second QB, but he has no weapons. the Bears fan earlier (for some DUMB reason) said, “last year Cam didnt have lots of WRs with LaFell and Smith and now they are lighting it up” firstly, with LaFell and Smith, CAM and the Panthers made the playoffs….with that said, not one person in Carolina said Smith should go. almost every fan HATED the move to cut Smith….as for LaFell it’s a mixed bag, i personally wanted him gone and to replace him with…..Benjamin….i didnt want to replace Smith with Benjamin (like they did). anyways, like i said, i blame this on the GMs and yes i said GMs.

  27. Stop making excuses for Newton. Lots of teams have poor O Lines, but good QBs adapt, and make their O line better. Newton won a national championship. His athletic ability is off the chart. Yet he consistently fails to read defenses and win because of his crappy O line? Miami’s QB was a freakin wide receiver for half of his college career, never won anything at that level, and nearly got dismembered by his train wreck of an O line last year. Not to mention 4 of their 5 starters have been out injured the last few games. Yet he has thrown 5 straight 70% completion games in a row, something Marino and Montana never did. Is he anywhere near the QB pantheon? Of course not. Never will be. But he succeeds in spite of the o line.

    Newton has bigger issues than the guys in front of him. It’s what between his ears that’s holding him back, in my opinion.

  28. Vick, RG3, Newton and Kapernick all started off well then the defenses figured them out. They can’t adjust, which is why all 4 will never be really good.

  29. Let’s review a couple of things…
    1) The newspaper reporter-turned-GM signed DeAngelo, Stewart, Tolbert, and Charles Johnson to contracts twice the size of what they would have gotten on the open market.
    2) The new GM was stuck in cap jail by the bad contracts. There was nothing he could do but sign spare parts.
    3) EVERYBODY got hurt – Cam, all 3 running backs, every O-lineman except Kalil. Every team has injuries. Not every team has this many injuries to key players. I have said it before – you put Brady or Peyton behind this line, which changes every single week, and they wouldn’t win more than 3 games either.

    So what needs to be done?
    1) Fire the OC. How does this idiot keep getting jobs? He has been an abject failure EVERYWHERE he’s been. Hire Dorsey as the OC. Hell, I’ll even take a re-hiring of Chud at this point.
    2) Trade CJ to Atlanta, maybe for a 2nd or 3rd round pick. He’s always wanted to play there, and the idea he might sign there caused the newspaper reporter-turned-GM to panic and grossly overpay him.
    3) Cut Double Trouble. It was a great ride, but y’all can’t stay healthy. We’ll get a new RB in the draft.
    4) With 4 picks in the first 3 rounds, get a stud OT, a DB, and another OL guy. Spend the rest of the draft getting secondary and WR depth and a new RB.
    5) Sign Cam to an extension. Once he has a real O-line, he’ll be fine. I am more than OK with Benjamin, Philly Brown, Greg Olsen and Mike Tolbert as starters. Just find a new tailback and another receiver late in the draft to provide depth.

    Problems solved.

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