MMQB’s Andy Benoit: Newton Has Chance To Be One Of Best Ever
Andy Benoit, a writer from Peter King’s MMQB, wrote the ‘Sir Newton’ article on Cam last week and joins Mac to discuss the Panthers.
On the Panther offensive line: It’s not a very good pass blocking offensive line. It gets overlooked because Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil have gone to Pro Bowls. Kalil’s had another excellent season, but Gross isn’t the player he once was. He’s an adequate left tackle, but in the NFL an adequate left tackle means you need chip block and slide protection help against more athletic defensive ends. Gross, in particular, has struggled against bull rushes and when you know your linemen struggle in specific ways, your opponents can target that weakness and it changes the way your offense plays. There’s a domino effect and that’s something the Panthers have had to overcome all season long.
On the Saints loss: The Saints did do something interesting offensively that exposed the Panthers defense a bit. They spread their offense extra wide and went more horizontal. They normally play tight to the line and they attack the middle of the field. The effect was stretching the zone coverages and created more one-on-one situations. The Saints showed how to expose the limitations in the secondary.
On Cam’s continuing development: I think he has a chance to get better. I am more confident in Newton’s ability to get better at reading defenses than I am in Robert Griffin III’s, for example. The Panthers do ask more of Newton, they don’t hide him as much as other teams hide their young quarterbacks. Newton’s QB rating against more multiple schematic defenses is in the 60’s, but against static defenses he’s in the 110’s. Newton is still learning to process multiple pieces of information at once, he’s excellent when he can process one piece of information at a time. The more that’s on his plate mentally, the less instinctive he plays and the less effective he is as a quarterback. That’s just a development issue, he’s got a chance to be one of the best ever.
Andy discusses the notion that the Saints ‘exposed’ the Panthers defense, the playoff outlook for the hometown team and Luke Kuechly’s weakness.