The Panthers hammered Arizona yesterday, and finally looked like the Panthers of 2015 while doing it. Look, 2-5 is still pretty horrible. But it sound a helluva lot better than 1-6. And if they get after the quarterback the way they did yesterday, they may still have a look at it in a pretty division. That is, if they can keep their own quarterback upright. Cam Newton has taken a beating this year and what he considered another questionable shot yesterday, and from the sounds of things, dude is not going to take it anymore. He says it’s taking the fun of the game and that he longer feels safe or protected:
Honestly, I see the guy working. I love Calais Campbell, and it may not have been intentional, but him rolling into Newton’s knee should have been flagged. The fact that it wasn’t was, in Newton’s words, ‘horsecrap.’ And he’s also right when he says he’s not getting the calls other quarterbacks get. I’m not even saying you have to do more to protect the MVP of the league, but you do have to do as much as you do to protect all the other QB’s. And Newton’s saying they’re not. And he has a point. There hasn’t been a roughing the passer penalty called against him since week one. And there were none all of last year. Question is why? Why isn’t he getting the calls. Partly, because the dude is so big and strong: bigger than a bunch of the guys who are trying to knock him down. Because the dude bounces right back up, he seems indestructible, and if he’s not hurt, the refs assume it wasn’t dirty or cheap.
I mean, look at him: he’s fine. He can take it. Hell, the guy is practically a d-line; no need to throw a flag here. Combine that with the fact that he runs more than any other QB, and the officials may have forgotten that he actually does play QB, and not running back. ESPN stats and information has Newton being hit more than any QB over the last two years but is getting fewer calls than any other QB, so he has a right to be upset; and he should take it up with the commissioner. If he doesn’t’ say anything, nothing is going to change.
Not only does he have a point, but the league really should listen to what he has to say. You already have instances of guys retiring earlier than they ordinarily would, saying the risk is no longer worth the potential reward. And now you have one of the league’s best players, the reigning MVP saying I’m just not having as much fun anymore. Even worse, I don’t feel safe anymore. That as players, we know what the risks are in playing this game. We know what we signed up for. But we didn’t sign up for dirty or illegal shots. And he has a point. If guys are retiring earlier than they normally would, and stars are saying, it’s not fun anymore and I don’t feel protected, then the NFL is going to have another problem on their hands.