Quarterback Cam Newton Takes Blame for Struggles over Past Two Seasons with Patriots, Panthers

by Bryan Fyalkowski

A former star NFL quarterback made an appearance on a podcast this week in an attempt to salvage what may be left of his professional career. No, I am not talking about Colin Kaepernick this time.

Cam Newton – the league’s 2011 Rookie of the Year and 2015 MVP – had some interesting things to say on The Pivot Podcast.

“There’s not 32 guys better than me,” Newton told hosts Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor. “If you think I couldn’t be on somebody’s team right now, you’re a damn fool.”

Through his first eight seasons for Carolina from 2011-18, Newton started 122 games and the Panthers posted a 68-53-1 record. Newton threw for 28,469 yards and 182 touchdowns, compared to 107 interceptions. He also rushed for 4,808 yards and 58 scores during that time.

In 2015, Newton was voted NFL MVP after having a career-best season of 3,837 pass yards and 35 touchdowns, with only 10 picks. He also rushed for 636 yards and 10 scores. Newton helped lead Carolina to a 15-1 record in the regular season and an NFC Championship. But the Panthers lost to Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the Super Bowl by a score of 24-10.

Three years later, Newton suffered a Lisfranc fracture that forced him to miss nearly all of the 2019 season. He was released by the Panthers a few months later and his long tenure in Carolina came to an end.

Trouble Learning the Offense

Also in the podcast, 33-year-old Cam Newton then went into his opinion on why his last two seasons in New England and Carolina did not work. In fact, he stood tall and took full blame.

“This ain’t no remorse. This ain’t no ‘I want somebody to feel sorry for me.’ This is me acknowledging that I own up to jumping up in some messed up situations,” Newton said.

He explained that – after signing with the Patriots in July of 2020 – he was still learning the offense halfway through the campaign. Newton recalled spending “countless hours” with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterbacks coach Jedd Finch to try and get up to speed. But it ultimately was “brain overload.”

“There were times I was goin’ to the line and I’m still thinkin’. I’m thinkin’ about the annunciation of the play, my motions, my sight adjust. I’m thinkin’ about certain things,” Newton said. “So that’s the messed up situation. Did I know it? Yes. To the degree I needed to know it to show the world that I’m still Cam Newton? No, I didn’t. But I put myself in that situation.”

Got Another Shot in Carolina

Following an underwhelming season in New England, the team cut him right before the 2021 campaign on August 31. Desperate for a starter halfway through the year after Sam Darnold went down, the Panthers grabbed Cam Newton from free agency and gave him a $10 million deal for the rest of the campaign.

The money was good, but it was not a good decision football-wise for Newton.

“I put myself in another messed up situation. I was signed on Thursday, I played on Sunday. At what point did you think you were gonna be successful?” Newton said. “That next week, I started. That’s still under 10 days of you being on the team. And you’re still trying to learn an offense.”

Although Newton thinks he is one of the best 32 quarterbacks in the world, if he is to sign with an NFL team soon, he might fall into a similar “messed up situation” this late in the process. He would have to accept a role of a backup and – hopefully – learn the offense quickly enough to make a positive impact if he gets that chance.