After a stellar rookie season, Newton has often sat on the sidelines with a towel over his head and has seemed petulant in post-game press conferences. He vehemently denied a report in late September that he was seeing a mind coach. On Sunday, after a 19-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, he was ready to hold somebody accountable.
“The past couple of games have been the same script, by the same director,” Newton, wearing some sort of squirrel-pelt sweater, said (via the Charlotte Observer). “It’s kind of getting boring. This taste, this vibe — I’m not buying it, man. And I don’t know what it is, but something’s going to have to change. Something’s going to have to change real fast.”
The best way to do that? How about reverting to a decades-old idea? (Speaking of decades-old ideas, he also called a female sportswriter “sweetheart.”) “I’m going to leave this room and I’m going to bring in a suggestion box and I want your suggestions to be in that suggestion box because I sure don’t know,” Newton said. “I really don’t. I wish I could tell you. But the only thing I control, sweetheart, is myself. Offensively, I am the leader of this bunch and we haven’t been getting the job done.”
The Panthers fired General Manager Marty Hurney on Monday, taking one step to try to correct their course. Here’s another idea. Maybe the 23-year-old will grow out of his funk. The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei suggests that, just perhaps, it’s a matter of going to “the most talented running back trio in the NFL in DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert. Between them, they carried 15 times Sunday while Newton put it up 37 times.”
Newton seems to be thinking along the same lines, which probably isn’t going to increase Coach Ron Rivera’s feelings of security. “I’m not the play-caller,” Newton said (via Pro Football Talk). “When we run the football, it hasn’t been exciting like we want it to be but you still have to call the plays. It’s kind of putting a strangle on our passing game.
“We’ve got to be more balanced, it’s evident, but the job’s got to get done, . . . We just find a way to keep the game close and just wait to see what happens at the end. I’m getting tired of it. That’s not a formula to win. Domination is a formula to win.”