Maybe this is a minor deal in the long run – after all, this is one Charlotte Observer cartoon we’re going off here – but it’s something. And with the Panthers a disappointing 1-2, and Newton not only coming off a miserable game against the Giants (16-30 passing, three picks, six yards on six carries, albeit with a touchdown) but facing renewed criticism about his attitude, maybe something like this was inevitable. Still…
… that didn’t take long, did it? Three games into a season in which he was tasked with following up arguably the best performance in the history of NFL rookie quarterbacking? Hell, 10 days removed from a dominant performance against the Saints? Put aside the questionable thought-bubble employment and the fact that it would be awesome if Newton actually wore a Hello Kitty undershirt: you couldn’t wait until his poor play was a bit more of a trend before dumping on him?
Granted, that’s not to say there’s no cause for Cam concern. When Steve Smith is chewing him out on the sideline and publicly criticizing him for sulking, and when he took flak for the same thing last year, something has to change. It’s tough, because the fact that he’s that competitive and wants to do everything well that badly is what makes him as good as he is to begin with, but his patented “looks like his whole world is crashing down around him every time something goes wrong” move clearly isn’t flying in a league where everyone loses sometimes.
But all this goes to show how thin the line is between “franchise savior energizing a city” and “softy who CAN’T HANDLE THE TOUGH MANLINESS OF THE MANFL.” Yeah, it’s a concern that he’s still not an expert in handling adversity even after a rookie season that, while often brilliant, produced more than its fair share of disappointing moments, but he’s still that same guy who did all those spectacular things. One brilliant game, and everyone will forget about the “towel draped over head” business – and maybe feel dumb for caring about it that much to begin with. In the meantime, maybe the Panthers can recruit Bruce Boudreau to give their QB a talk.