Well, at least Cam Newton was talking to local reporters today. That’s progress.
After skipping last week’s required interviews in defiance of league policy, the Panthers quarterback was back at his podium Wednesday, up to a certain point.
Newton answered questions for several minutes Wednesday, before walking off if what could be reasonably interpreted as, if not a huff then a clear sign of displeasure and/or annoyance.
In a video of the exchange posted by Steve Reed of the Associated Press, Newton could be seen rolling his eyes before he went away.
He had discussed the recent struggles by the team’s offense (which managed just a field goal last week against the Bears), and spoke for several minutes.
Then Newton was asked by male reporter Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer: “The big plays, the big chunk plays that get you that energy you’re talking about, is this offense — I know you had several at Detroit and New England — do you guys have the wherewithal to do that consistently, week in and week out?”
After his “Next question,” Newton paused a beat before leaving, as other questions were being asked.
Newton didn’t talk to local reporters last week, but did do the CBS production meeting Saturday. He also spoke after Sunday’s game.
Whatever sparked his reaction Wednesday, it was a reasonable question. After losing Ted Ginn in free agency and in the absence of injured tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers have lacked the vertical element Newton is used to.
They’re averaging 4.9 yards per play and 6.0 yards per pass attempt this year. Last year (while going 6-10), they averaged 5.2 yards per play and 6.2 yards per pass attempt. In 2015, while going 15-1 and heading for the Super Bowl, they averaged 5.5 yards per play and 6.7 yards per pass attempt.
After losing a bunch of yogurt money after making a sexist remark a few weeks ago, perhaps Newton simply didn’t want to engage in an answer which might reflect poorly on his current situation. But regardless the motivation, it’s a bad look for a guy who generally handles on-field adversity much better.