by Brian Clarey
I’m no bandwagon Panthers fan. As a New Orleans Saints fan, I’ve been pushing back against their NFC South rivals for as long as they’ve been in the same division. For years — decades! — my mantra has been: “What’s bad for the Panthers is good for the Saints.”
What I’m saying is, screw the Carolina Panthers.
But as a fan of the game, I have to give credit where it’s due. And even though it damn near kills me to say it, and even though he looks completely ridiculous in that flak jacket he wears under his jersey, I believe that Cam Newton may be the best quarterback in the NFL right now.
The numbers don’t bear this out. Newton is ranked just 22nd among starters after this weekend’s win (worth mentioning here that Saints QB Drew Brees is currently No. 1) with a measly 53.7 completion percentage, averaging a scant 227 yards per game and a middling quarterback rating of 81.4 — by comparison, Brees rates 102.8.
They say Newton can’t throw the long ball, that he panics in the pocket, that he’s been lucky to get this far.
All that may be true, praise Breesus.
But what Cam Newton has done is win every damn game he’s played this season any way he could. He’s throwing the ball with authority, and when he tucks the ball and runs, he’s a monster. He’s run for 343 yards so far, more than any other QB in the league, and averaging 4.7 yards per carry, better than most running backs.
Now that the Panthers are 8-0, and beat the Packers, a really solid team, I can’t pretend that I think he sucks anymore. To be undefeated at this point in the season is truly remarkable.
I remember the last time the Saints went 8-0. Actually, they went 13-0 in 2009, the year they won the Super Bowl.
Let’s see Cam do that.