They say that adversity does not build character, it reveals it. And right now, a 1-5 start by a Panthers team considered by some to be a bit of a playoff "sleeper", has scratched away the phony shine on the former Heisman winner to reveal what some said was there all along.
Nolan Nawrocki, a scout for Pro Football Weekly, refused to buy the hype leading up to draft day. You can read the full write up here (and much of it is positive) but Nawrocki was SAVAGED by the media's "amen chorus" on Cam when it came to this paragraph in particular.
Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. Only a one-year producer. Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.Now... low and behold... with Sunday's pathetic loss to the Cowboys, we saw Cam throwing his coordinator under the bus in public on play calling.
It's NEVER a good sign, when NFL Network talking heads are asking if you are the "new Jay Cutler."
I had doubts about Cam Newton based more on his short college experience, and his super-simplified offense he ran at Auburn. I was agnostic to the "off-the-field" persona stuff, including his now infamous quote about wanting to be "an entertainer and an icon" as well as a football player.
Mind you, I was never "all OUT" on him as a QB in the pros, I just had some doubts, and saw lots of red flags. And as you saw last year, he took all of those red flags and shoved them up my ass and anyone else who doubted.
Which brings us to now. Adversity. It happens. How do you respond, as an athlete? What do you do? What do you say? How do you act? Can you L-E-A-D?
It's quite possible Cam will figure it out, now that the football tailwinds of last year, have shifted into headwinds this year. I was impressed last year with his ability and willingness to stay in the pocket as it collapsed, stand tall, and deliver heavy balls to all parts of the field with accuracy and timing.
But the game changes. And the game is hard. And people are going to - GASP! - "say things..." you know.
Time to figure it out, Cam.
Start, by understanding that your body language means something to your teammates. Your coaches. Your fans. That means the scowl and pout after losses at the podium. The towel over the head. All of it. Start with changing that, because it's the easiest thing to do.
There's a long, and excellent career to be had for Cam Newton. If he wants it.
UPDATE: Ooops. Panthers GM Marty Hurney just got the axe! Ouch. Who could have seen that coming? Oh wait... Nolan Nawrocki did. This guy (/Gruden voice) is getting more right by the second!
Can provide an initial spark, but will quickly be dissected and contained by NFL defensive coordinators, struggle to sustain success and will not prove worthy of an early investment. An overhyped, high-risk, high-reward selection with a glaring bust factor, Newton is sure to be drafted more highly than he should and could foreclose a risk-taking GM's job and taint a locker room.