I’ll skip the dramatic and lengthy intro and just get right into it; is Cam Newton heading for the dreaded Sophomore Slump?
Three games into the season and Newton’s numbers have owners everywhere in a fit. In fact, through 12 quarters, Newton is
- 53-83 for 798 yards
- 2 TDs and 5 INT through the air
- 24 rushes, 84 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.
Let’s compare those numbers to his first three games a season ago where he was:
- 70-117, 1,012 yards
- 4 TDs and 4 INTs.
- 25 rushes, 98 yards and 2 TDs.
Now, just because his passing numbers don’t match up with last year shouldn’t be a concern. Don’t forget he was shattering records through three games a year ago, something you cannot expect any player to maintain year in and year out. Last season was also a pass-happy season, and ended up being one for the record books.
Also, it’s worth noting that last year, in his first three games, Newton faced Arizona (19th in total defense in 2011), Green Bay (last in total defense in 2011), and Jacksonville (8th in total defense in 2011, also his weakest game in his first three).
However, through the first three weeks Newton has faced Tampa Bay, New Orleans and the Giants, who rank 29-31st in total defense, in that order. So the stats say that Newton’s numbers should be better, but why aren’t they?
- Carolina’s run game has been a non-factor thus far, averaging 96.3 ypg 19th in the NFL)
- Carolina’s defense has continued to struggle, currently ranking them the worst overall defense statistically through three weeks. That puts Carolina behind early and often, making it obvious that Newton will throw.
- Carolina has averaged 24 minutes of possession a game this season. That is less than 50% of games, therefore with less possession obviously comes less chances for offense plays, scores, and points.
- Carolina’s pass offense currently ranks 11th in the NFL wit 267.3 ypg only 14 ypg behind Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Newton will not suffer the dreaded sophomore slump. He is far too talented, athletic, and a competitor to let that happen. Once his run-game actually becomes relevant, some of the pressure will be alleviated from Newton. In addition, his numbers this year haven’t been as terrible as everyone thinks (he currently ranks 8th overall and 5th among QBs in standard scoring leagues).