Cam Newton: I could care less about stats

The 2012 season has been a trying one for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. A 6-10 season in 2011 showed signs of promise for Panthers fans, who expected their team to be in playoff contention this year. That has not happened, and much of the blame has fallen on Newton’s shoulders.

Last season, Newton lit up the stat sheet and set a number of NFL rookie quarterback records — both with his arm and legs. His numbers have fallen this season and it has shown in the wins and losses columns. The losses are something Cam says he cares about. The stats? Not so much.

“As far as statistically I could really care less as far as how it’s been going,” Newton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when discussing this weekend’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. “We play this game for one reason. We are looking forward to playing this game. It’s a division game and we just want to get back in the swing of things.”

As Alex Smith reminded us earlier this season by using Newton as an example, statistics mean very little if you aren’t winning games. That being said, the Panthers drafted Newton to be a game-changer, and game-changers typically put up numbers. The fact that Newton’s numbers are down this season and the Panthers have only won three games is not a coincidence.

Putting up huge numbers but missing the playoffs is pointless, unless you’re simply aiming to make the Pro Bowl. Based on what we heard about Newton’s experience in Hawaii last season, veterans around the league will likely be pleased if he’s not around when the stars get together this year.

Photo: Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

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  • Zac Anderson

    Statistically he’s about the same, not worse. On pace for a few less yards and touchdowns and a few less interceptions, which is what everyone on the planet couldn’t wait to criticize him for last year: interceptions.

    Meanwhile, Andrew Luck, predictably, is having to deal with absolutely no criticism despite leading the league in interceptions right now. You won’t hear about that on ESPN, but you will hear how he’s easily going to break Cam’s passing yards record from last year, while they completely leaving out the fact that he’s 3rd in the league in pass attempts, already having about as many as Cam had last year.

    Cam’s had to adjust a lot this year, mainly to horrible situational playcalling and the lack of anyone else on his team making big plays (especially in the run game), as well as the least clutch defense in the league.

    I’m not trying to be a Cam apologist or hate on Andrew Luck or really even compare the two as players. I’m more or less comparing how they are treated by the media. Ever since he was drafted, there has been so much focus on critiquing every thing Cam does or doesn’t do. While some would point this out, it isn’t because he’s a number 1 draft pick. Luck is also a number 1 draft pick, but he’s the media’s ‘Golden Boy’. He has been their chosen son for the past 3 years, and has been as advertised. But they don’t pick at him for every little thing he does and says. Instead of taking 5 seconds of a 10 minute interview and making him look like an ass, they make him look like the perfect team player. Cam has managed to be far better than expected for 3 years now, and yet the media seems to hate him for him.

    So what is your article about? Is it about his stats actually being about the same, slightly improved in some areas and slightly worse in others? Is it about a 10 month old story featuring anonymous AFC sources, including a denial from probably the most important AFC pro bowler? Or is it just like that story? A filler non-story because you can’t write about Tebow’s return to glory in Florida this week?

    Why can’t it be about how nothing matters more to this kid than winning. About how this 23 year old is growing before our eyes, learning how to be a leader and how to handle losing and failure, something he’s never had to deal with in football before. He handled a lot of adversity off the field, leading his team to a national championship, and now in the NFL, he’s learning to deal with adversity on the field.