Ron Rivera’s goal might have been to motivate his franchise quarterback, but will the Carolina Panthers head coach's words come back to haunt him? Rivera said Wednesday that Cam Newton will have to “rebuild his confidence” and claimed the former MVP was “shook” when he took a step back in 2016.
Newton’s struggles along with the pounding he took in the pocket contributed to the Panthers going from reaching the Super Bowl in 2015 to not making the playoffs last season. Newton might have alluded to his coach’s comments in his Instagram post Thursday.
JASON WHITLOCK: “It could backfire. Ron Rivera’s pushing his chips into the middle of the table. He benched Cam last year. I think he’s had it with Cam. He’s not going to coddle him. And generally speaking when you have a guy like Cam that’s such a big presence, has so much talent, he’s in the prime of his career, organizations are going to choose the quarterback over Ron Rivera. If this doesn’t work out, if they’re not improved, if Cam isn’t improved, this is Ron Rivera’s last year."
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COLIN COWHERD: “I think it speaks to a greater issue. If I said all-time greats from any sport – Tiger, Kobe, MJ, LeBron, Peyton, Brady, Montana – I could use one word: obsessed. They’re just obsessed, almost unbalanced. Peyton’s unbalanced, Kobe’s unbalanced.
"My question about Cam has been the question I’ve always had about Jay Cutler: Does he love football? Does he love what football provides? Like with Cam if this was used as motivation, what does that tell me? I don’t feel like you have to motivate Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady. Like if this is what Ron’s doing, ‘Hey, I wanna ignite.’ Did you ever have to ignite Peyton Manning? Do you have to ignite Russell Wilson?
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'Cam needs to stop being a front-runner'
ERIC DAVIS: “I don’t think that’s what he’s doing. I don’t think this is about motivation. He’s telling the truth. Cam Newton played at an MVP level, and he has the ability to do that. It’s already documented.
"Ron Rivera knows that what happened last year is true. There are a lot of injuries. You lost Luke Kuechly. You didn’t have Josh Norman there. You didn’t have Ted Ginn playing at his career best. Those things affected what Cam was doing.
"The issue with Cam is that Cam needs to stop being a front-runner. Ron Rivera needs him to be the leader. For them to be the team they’re capable of being – those other quarterbacks and those other players you mentioned, they show up every time. Every single day.
"Whether the guys around them are playing at a certain level, they elevate those guys. You can’t go in the tank. You can’t Dab and rip your chest open and show Superman when things are going well and then sulk every time things aren’t going well. You gotta fight through it. You have to play through it. Confidence comes from doing. His confidence was shattered. If you’re playing well, you’re gonna feel confident. The stars have to be stars though it and get everybody else to come up. And that’s what Ron wants him to do and I think he’s right for saying so."
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NFL: Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins
CRIS CARTER: "At this point in Cam’s career he doesn’t have great anticipation. People don’t talk about this. That’s the reason why his [completion] percentage is so low. The reason why he gets hit more is because he holds onto the ball longer. The receivers have to be open before he lets it go most of the time. It’s a developmental thing.
"It’s also the offensive line, but Cam has to take better care of himself. He can’t take all these hits because they will have an accumulative effect throughout his career."