Cam Newton explains which Panthers coach has been a ‘father figure’ for him

Cam Newton has finally ascended into the upper echelon of quarterbacks this season, and he credits stability on the coaching staff as one of the main ingredients for his success.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback praised offensive coordinator Mike Shula at his media availability on Tuesday, saying Shula has been like having a "secret weapon since Day 1."  

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"He’s been a father figure for so many of us on the field," said Newton, who is in his fifth year in the league.  

"For him to be a part of my career since Day 1, him being my quarterback coach my rookie year . . . him knowing me throughout this whole process has been very important for my growth," Newton said.

Head coach Ron Rivera and Shula were both on the staff when Newton was drafted in 2011 as the No. 1 overall pick out of Auburn. Newton has thrown 21, 19, 24, 18 and 35 touchdown passes, respectively, in his five seasons as a starter. He also missed two starts last season due to injury, but has led the Panthers to the playoffs each the last three season.

Shula was the Panthers quarterback coach from 2011-12 and took over as offensive coordinator after Rob Chudzinski left.