In this weeks “Show Me My Opponent” I was able to catch up with Taylor Barbour, editor of Fansided’s Carolina Panthers blog “Cat Crave”.
I asked him a few questions about what he thinks about the current state of the Panthers, and what to expect tomorrow.
CB: How confident is the fan base in Cam Newton?
"TB: I think the Panthers fan base is extremely excited about Newton and what he can do but I still don’t believe that they are very confident in the young quarterback and this young team. Everyone still has the terrible taste of 2-14 in their mouths and that is not going to go away until this team starts to win.Realistically I don’t think most fans have the idea that Newton is going to throw for 30 touchdowns and lead this team to a play off spot this season. Rookie quarterbacks just don’t do that unless your name is Ben Rothlesisburger That being said, I think a lot of people including myself believe that Newton will turn this team around. It may not be this year or even the next, but I think that Newton will eventually develop into a great NFL quarterback. He has that ‘it’ factor. He is a natural born leader, has freaky athletic talent and just knows how to win. Time will tell if that translates to the field though."
CB: In your opinion is the team doing everything it needs to do to make a rookie QB thrive? What could they do to help him grow more?
"I think that the Panthers are. They have a proven and established running game with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart, a veteran offensive line that can be one of the best in the league if it can stay healthy, a go to star receiver in Steve Smith and a safety valve tight end in Greg Olsen.They have a ton of offensive weapons. They just need Newton to manage them. The coaching staff isn’t going to ask Newton to complete 30 passes a game and throw for three touchdowns, instead he just need to play smart and make a play here and there."
CB: What will happen to Jimmy Clausen?
"That is the thing. Nothing happened to Clausen. He looks pretty much like the same quarterback from last season. He is still timid in the pocket, lacks pocket presence and makes to many mistakes. I think Newton is seeing a ton of action because the coaching staff knows what it has in Clausen. It has 15 games of film from last season to see that. Newton on the other hand is an unknown. We know what he did in college but that doesn’t always translate over to the NFL, see Matt Leinert."
CB: Playing in one of the hardest conferences in the NFL, do the Panthers have a chance to make themselves into a playoff team ?
"I don’t really see any real chance for the playoffs this season for the Panthers. They have to many things working against them, a rookie quarterback, a new coaching staff and the fact that they missed out on a ton of time during the lockout. That being said, I think they will actually compete this season, unlike last year and finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-9."
CB: What are the expectations for this upcoming season?
"I am not really setting expectations I just want to see improvement. I want to see Newton get comfortable with this offense, improve as the season moves along and try and pick up momentum heading into the next season."