Tag:Cam Newton
Posted on: July 11, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:30 pm

Clausen could get another chance to prove himself

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A year ago, Jimmy Clausen was supposed to be the Panthers' quarterback of the future. He ended up starting 10 games, winning once, and by the end of the season he had completed just 52 percent of his throws, including three touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Carolina's 2-14 record wasn't entirely Clausen's fault, but with the first-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and Cam Newton coming off a dominating college season, it wasn't a shock when the Panthers ended up taking him.

NFL quarterbacks, in general, struggle as rookies, with Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco being the notable exceptions. Two big differences between those players and Newton: they played for teams with good defenses, and perhaps more importantly, they were able to participate in minicamp and OTAs in the weeks and months leading up to their rookie seasons.

Newton has neither luxury, and it's why he probably won't be under center when the 2011 season begins.

The Charlotte Observer's Tom Sorensen goes so far as to write that Clausen will "become a legitimate NFL starting quarterback" before adding "But while Newton adjusts to the NFL, Clausen will get every opportunity to prove he can play. The Carolina Panthers almost certainly will entrust Clausen with their offense when they go to the road to play Arizona on opening weekend."

Sorensen admits that he's one of the few folks in town who believes in Clausen, which apparently include the Panthers front office since they used the No. 1 pick on a franchise quarterback a year after supposedly taking one 48th overall.

Whatever the long-term thinking, for now, starting Clausen makes the most sense. Not only because he has more experience, but also because the Panthers are in the early stages of rebuilding, and there's no need to subject Newton to what Clausen had to go through last year.

It may sound ruthless and unfair, and maybe it is. But it's also an opportunity for Clausen to show he's a legit NFL quarterback. As Sorensen notes, that job description includes more than just the physical abilities: "The quality Clausen lacked most [last season] was poise. Unwilling to risk an interception, he'd hang onto the ball. … He might fail again, but it won't be because he's meek. There will be coaches to impress and teammates to convince, and I think he will."

As for Newton, he's working out in Florida at the IMG campus and saying all the right things.

"I look up to the guys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger," he said. "They're great at what they do. I really love how Peyton Manning controls the whole game. He is the dictator out there on the field. He doesn't let the defense dictate him. Aaron Rodgers is a machine as far as his mechanics. ...Tom Brady is the ultimate leader. Drew Brees is a savvy guy in the pocket. Why not take a little something from everybody and apply it to your own?"

Nothing wrong with that. In fact, we're guessing Clausen made similar comments last summer. The true test, however, will come when Newton's thrown into the fire. It's perfectly reasonable to want to emulate Brady or Manning or Brees. It's something else entirely to be able to do that with 350-pound slabs of meat trying to drive you through the turf. For the immediate now, though, it sounds like that will remain Clausen's problem.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 9:12 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 9:38 am

Who we want to see on Hard Knocks '11

Hard Knocks (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Throughout the lockout that seems neverending -- now at 114 days and counting!!! -- we’ve seen players get arrested, we’ve seen the NFL and the NFLPA come together and then bicker and then come together and then bicker, and we’ve seen players sue their girlfriends for their engagement rings.

Most disturbing, we’ve seen the signs that Brett Favre might want to return for another season.

We’ve also heard plenty about how a lost preseason would cost the NFL $800 million if the lockout continues through August and into September.

But when it comes to the preseason and how much is on the line, you know what we haven’t heard about? We haven’t heard which squad will be the subject of the annual highlight of August –- HBO’s "Hard Knocks."  

Oh, we know which teams have already declined the invitation (or supposedly, declined the invitation). Among them are the Buccaneers, the Broncos, the Lions and the Falcons (who might be open to doing it in the future), and at this point, it seems as if nobody wants to be on the show. Making matters tougher are those who say cooperating with Hard Knocks is a mistake.

Assuming we’ll see a preseason this year that would provide a platform for the Hard Knocks crew to start filming -- and CBSSports.coms’ Mike Freeman writes that it’s getting close --here are five teams we’d like to see featured on Hard Knocks. Many of them might not be interested for one reason or another, but if we have a fantasy roster, this is it.


NewtonThe big storyline: Simply put: the entertainer and the icon, Cam Newton. We want to see how he learns the offense; we want to see if his teammates rally around him; we want to get an early idea of whether Carolina made a bad decision last April. Or maybe he’s the next superstar in the game. Either way, he’s one of the biggest storylines of the preseason, and we want to be inside the locker room to see what happens.

The foil: Jimmy Clausen. How is he going to react to Newton? What happens when Newton badly fakes out some defender destined for the practice squad and gains 30 yards on a broken play? Will the director then cut to Clausen as he raises a fist to the sky in anger? And what happens if Clausen, um, actually outplays Newton?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has mentioned in the past couple of days that Favre has offered to help mentor Newton. Can you imagine the video that could come from this, especially if the camera caught Favre alone in the locker room sending a text message? 2) WR Steve Smith: is he going to play for the Panthers or not?


The big storyline: The same guy who makes sure this show would never feature his team on his watch. That would be coach Bill Belichick. How fascinating would it be to see how Belichick builds a team and how he relates to his players? Would we get to see Belichick’s team meeting in which he implicitly tells his team how to answer questions from the media (in the most uninteresting way possible)? Kidding aside, we want to see a future Hall of Fame coach behind the scenes and uncensored.

The foil: Rex Ryan. Is there any way to get a split screen of the Jets coach talking trash about Belichick -- hey, he’s not here to kiss anybody’s ring! – while Belichick coldly goes about finding a way to make Ryan pay for his words?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Danny Woodhead: he was on Hard Knocks with the Jets last season, and though he’s not in danger of being cut with New England, I still want to know why Woodhead, all of a sudden, is so freaking good. 2) G Logan Mankins (and his agent) has said some not very complimentary things about the Patriots management, all in the name of landing a large contract. Will he be kinder and gentler this preseason?


The big storyline: Obviously, the Lombardi Trophy. Hard Knocks has never followed a team the preseason after it won the Super Bowl, so it’d be cool to see the ring ceremony the public wasn’t allowed to witness a few weeks back (I’m assuming Hard Knocks wasn’t actually there, but it’d be cool nonetheless) while watching the Packers attempt a repeat.

The foil: Charles Woodson vs. Tramon Williams. Woodson is the bigger name, but he’s older than Williams and there’s a pretty good chance Williams is the better CB these days. Maybe we’d really get to see if Woodson is close to the end, and if Williams can replace Woodson’s outrageous production.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Would Aaron Rodgers sign autographs for the fans at training camp? Because, as we all know, he doesn’t like signing for cancer patients (I kid, I kid). 2) Last year, little-used cornerback Brandon Underwood had a sexual assault charge hanging over his head all season (he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge). Now, he’s been charged with disorderly conduct after an alleged physical altercation with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Underwood isn’t a great quote, but his story might make for an interesting change of pace on the show.


The big storyline: The will-they-or-won’t-they-fire-him as it relates to coach Gary Kubiak. I’m kind of surprised he’s still coaching in Houston actually, and the last time Hard Knocks featured this kind of storyline, it was Wade Phillips with the Cowboys. Now, Phillips is Kubiak’s defensive coordinator. How hot can that boiler room get anyway?

The foil: The secondary. This is what I wrote in the Texans offseason checkup: “The secondary (Kareem Jackson, Glover Quin, Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson) were just tremendously bad. If the Texans can’t get this fixed, it doesn’t matter who’s coordinating the defense, because Houston simply won’t win.” I don’t disagree with that.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Though he came off a bit bumbling in Season 4 with the Cowboys, Phillips is a sympathetic figure. And the man has proved he can coordinate a defense. I want to see how he transforms a 4-3 sieve-like defense into a 3-4 defense that potentially could save Kubiak’s job. 2) Will QB Matt Schaub ever get into the playoffs? He’s the best quarterback in the league who hasn’t gotten there.


The big storyline: Obviously, Al Davis, and the one question I want to know. How hands-on is he these days?

The foil: Nnamdi Asomugha: Just like Darrelle Revis last season with the Jets, we’re not going to see too much of the talented free agent cornerback on the TV. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see any of Antonio Cromartie either (psst, see video below).

Two other compelling reasons: 1) New coach Hue Jackson finally gets his chance at running a team. Forget that Tom Cable went 6-0 in the AFC West last year without making the playoffs -- still a pretty damn impressive feat. Davis got rid of him, just like he gets rid of everybody after a couple years. Will Jackson be an exception? 2) Al Davis: Seriously, I want as much Al Davis as possible.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 8:17 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 8:33 pm

More talk about a Brett Favre comeback

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Here's the easiest way to tell it's summer: the "Brett Favre might come out of retirement!?" talk starts up, seemingly without provocation. At this point, it's become an annual event that's as predictable as a planet's orbit.

After Favre declared last month that “I don’t want to put my body through that anymore. I’ve been beat up enough.” NFL.com's Gil Brandt did the unthinkable Tuesday, suggesting in an live chat that "I do think Favre would be interested in talking to a team about returning." Brandt added, "But I don't see a team out there right now that would bring him back as a starter."

By then, of course, it was too late. Brandt had already uttered the word's "Favre" and "comeback" aloud, thus insuring that this would be a story for the foreseeable future.

So it's no surprise that Brandt appeared on NFL Network's Total Access Wednesday to -- you guessed it -- continue the conversation about why Favre still wants to play in the NFL for what would be his 21st season.

"Quarterbacks never want to retire," Brandt said. "Let me tell you why I think the way I think on this: First of all, Favre made an inquiry into Cam Newton; if [the Panthers] would be interested in having Favre work with [Newton] while the lockout was taking place. I don't think you make an inquiry to help somebody develop as a player in a coaching way if you don't have something in your mind about coming back to play. 

"Then I think he probably looks around the league and there's a lot of 'what ifs' -- 'what if Seattle doesn't sign Hasselbeck?' And Darrell Bevell, his coach at both Green Bay and Minneapolis, is there. ... I think Favre is enough of a competitor that if somebody said to him, 'Come on, we can use you. You might not be a starter,' I think he would come out of retirement."

Brandt admitted that he hasn't spoken to Favre or anyone in Favre's camp, but added: "The thing that triggered me on this whole thing is [Favre] wanting to help Cam Newton. I don't think you want to go out and become a coaching candidate if you feel you have time left that you can play as a player."

The NFL Network's Jason La Canfora wasn't buying it. "I can't imagine it happening," he said. "I don't know anyone who would want to bring him in right now."

Are you listening, Tiki? 

We actually believe Favre when he said he's been beaten up enough. And if he gets a hankerin' for a comeback, we'd encourage him to watch these:

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 4:44 pm

Hot Routes 7.6.11: MJD losing carries already?

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Albert Breer of the NFL Network is sitting on the side of the street in New York (like, literally) waiting on lockout-related news. Here's his latest update.
  • SB Nation Atlanta reports that Sean Weatherspoon is going above and beyond what he needs to do during the lockout, getting together with Missouri teammates to workout. I have an unholy amount of love for 'Spoon and I'm hoping it doesn't manifest itself in an ill-advised DPOY pick this preseason.
Posted on: July 2, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 9:09 pm

Newton knows 90 percent of Panthers' playbook?

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton has a tough task ahead of him once the lockout's resolved -- he has to learn the entirety of Rob Chudzinski's insanely complex offense, and do so in a short amount of time.

But he's been working with some former NFL quarterbacks, including Chris Weinke, and it appears to be paying huge dividends for the rookie out of Auburn.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, these sessions have featured detailed learning of the Panthers' playbook, "about 90 percent of which Weinke has installed."

Essentially, Newton's mimicking the practices he'd be getting in the lost offseason by getting a play from Weinke, calling out the play like he was in the huddle, going through each play's cadence at the line of scrimmage, and then slinging passes to whatever receivers are there.


Per Person, some recent attendees include Michael Clayton, Alex Smith, Titus Young and a "couple small-college receivers."

Following the throws, Weinke and former Chudzinski protégé Ken Dorsey -- who we'd also mentioned as a Newton tutor -- make suggestions as to how Newton can improve his mechanics and individual tweaks and designs for each play that's being run.

"He wants to be great," Weinke said.

Newton probably does want to be great -- the issue will be whether or not he's capable of recreating the success he had at Auburn once he gets on the field for the Panthers.

But given how unsettled the NFL's situation is right now, it's pretty darn impressive to see Newton maximizing his offseason, especially when there's no enforced motivation to do so.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 2:39 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 3:19 pm

Pryor to work out with QB coach George Whitfield

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We joked yesterday on the Eye on Football podcast that Drew Rosenhaus took a break from preaching the gospel of Terrelle Pryor (he's a first-round pick!) to announce that another of his clients, Terrell Owens, will start in the NFL this season despite his age (37) and recent surgery for an ACL injury.

But today it's back to Pryor, the former Ohio State quarterback who has yet to play one down in the NFL. He'll enter the supplemental draft, which will take place in the coming weeks assuming the owners and players can agree on a new collective bargaining agreement.

In preparation for that eventuality, Pryor has been working out. And we're not just talking about the Rosenhaus-produced highlight tape, either. According to the Canton Repository, Pryor will train with renowned quarterback coach George Whitfield, who has also worked with Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger.

“It is my understanding I am heading (to Miami),” said Whitfield. “I look forward to working with him. From a kid that grew up in Ohio and knows how important the Buckeyes are and my relationship with Coach Tressel and his relationship with Coach Tressel ... on top of the fact he’s talented and a big competitor. It’s a challenge to me. I know Terrelle wants to be as good as he can be.”

Opinions vary about Pryor's NFL stock though most analysts peg him as a late-round pick. Rosenhaus says Pryor is an NFL quarterback, while others speculate that Pryor might have to change positions to stick in the league. Whitfield disagrees.

“I almost jumped off the couch when I heard that (Pryor might have to move to tight end),” he said. “They put in all their chips against him, and made a definitive statement about a guy who is 31-4 at one of the more premier college programs in America.”

It's no secret that Pryor needs to improve his footwork in the pocket and that's what Whitfield aims to do.

“The big thing is I’ve got to get him more familiar with his operation in the pocket in terms of footwork and throwing from the pocket,” he said. “Of the guys I’ve worked with, Pryor has played more under center than any of them. It’s not that he’s deficient in that area, but it’s what the NFL wants. The league puts a premium on operation from the cockpit, and we’ll work on that.”

Working with Whitfield certainly can't hurt, although Pryor will have to show substantial progress to raise his draft stock. But it's worth remembering that, despite Rosenhaus' "first-round" proclamations, the journey doesn't end for Pryor after the draft. That's when it begins. Wherever he ends up, he'll sit on the bench for a couple seasons, learn the nuances of the position and go from there.

The long-range plan sometimes gets obscured by all that comes before it -- the scandal, the Rosenhaus hype, the media response -- but on the right team Pryor could very well find his niche. The trick is making a match.

(In related news: it sounds like the Ravens aren't interested)

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 6:09 pm

Hot Routes 6.27.11: Dominique Foxworth does MMQB

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Dominique Foxworth of the Ravens guest-penned Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on, um, Monday and I gotta tell you, it was awesome. The general premise of the piece is about the lockout, and it's important to remember that even though we think there's a deal getting done, no one knows. Foxworth, in particular, has a great point-of-view, because he missed all of last season with an injury, and is really itching to get out on the field. Also, he dropped the funniest line of the year with "I think cell phones have ruined pushing people into pools." Preach on, brother.
Posted on: June 25, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 2:17 pm

Newton: 'I don't bring race into the game'

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You remember all the criticism heaped upon Cam Newton before the Panthers made him the No. 1 pick?

He was a one-year wonder, his learning curve would be steep, all he cares about his building a brand and being a big star. That was the talk leading up to the NFL draft. Of course, it all remains to be seen whether any of that is true, but that didn’t stop his advisor, Warren Moon, from declaring that the criticism had racial overtones.

The life of Newton
Said Moon nearly three months ago: “I’m not going to say it’s totally racial. I just think they just keep piling on. I don’t understand why they keep piling on. Because this is a guy that’s a very special talent that has done some very special things and they just keep trying to cut up every part of his game. There’s no way a guy could be as successful as he’s been whatever level that he’s been on and have all these different flaws that they’re talking about right now.”

In the latest edition of GQ, Newton was asked if he felt like he had been targeted by detractors a bit more because he is black. Newton took a different tact than Moon.

"Sir, it all comes down to whether a person wins or loses," Newton said, via NFL.com. "I don't bring race into the game, 'cause then you're talking about excuses. I. Hate. Excuses. Excuses are a disease."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com