Circle your calendars. Sunday, September 25, 2011 will be the day Cam Newton puts the remaining doubters to rest. In Cam’s first two weeks he has put up monster yards, breathed life back into a franchise, and broken records, but there is still a monkey on his back. Newton needs a win. This coming Sunday, the Panthers will get that win.
Despite throwing for 422 yards in his first outing, only to follow that up with a 432 yard day against Green Bay, some doubters are still not sold. Some want to point out his interceptions, others want to point out that we are still 0-2, while still more just aren’t yet convinced he can get the job done. There are those who won’t ever be on board the Cam Wagon, and I suppose nothing will convince them. Simply put, Cam Newton gives the Panthers the best chance to win. Does anybody honestly think Jimmy Clausen or Derek Anderson could have even come close to what Newton has been able to accomplish so far?
With Jacksonville coming into town Sunday, I am predicting more than just a moral victory. Jacksonville is coming off a 32-3 beating by the New York Jets. Luke McCown was dreadful, throwing 6 of 19 for 59 yards, no touchdowns and 4 interceptions, earning him a 1.8 quarterback ranking. The Jaguars pulled McCown for Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter, where he was 5 of 6 for 52 yards – but the game was already well in hand by that point. The Jets had a fairly balanced attack against them with 182 yards passing and 101 yards rushing.
I expect Carolina to do something similar against the Jags. This week, we will see more out of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. A lot of people were upset with the game plan on Sunday and the lack of the running game. While not very effective, the run game wasn’t non-existent – we ran the ball 21 times for 71 yards. Granted, 10 carries and 59 yards of that were from Cam Newton, but you can still argue that the 8 catches for 100 yards for Stewart were basically rushes, with the majority of them coming from behind or near the line of scrimmage. Another interesting stat I saw from the Jets and Jaguars game was that tight end Dustin Keller was New York’s leading receiver. Guess who else likes to find his two receiving tight ends?
There are a few things I took from our loss last weekend. The loss of Thomas Davis hurts, and with Beason already out for the season, look for James Anderson to really step up. I also thought Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy looked much better than in week one. Let’s be honest here – the Jaguars offense can’t even hold a candle to Green Bay’s. I think the defense should be fine here no matter who Jacksonville decides to put under center for Sunday. Also, the crowd was a factor last week as well, where third downs seemed to be a problem at times for Aaron Rodgers due to the noise. The home crowd will be a factor this weekend, and there will be nowhere near as many Jaguar fans as there were Cheese-heads at last week’s game.
So for Bruce Wilson or anybody else who doesn’t see the glass half-full for the Panthers like I do: take a picture, write it down – I don’t give a Legedu, the Panthers bring home the win on Sunday.