Cam Newton faced plenty of questions about his playing ability and character coming out of college before last season.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback seemed to silence all the critics with a stellar rookie season that featured no off-field incidents last year.
But this year, he and the Panthers are struggling on the field. And some questionable comments following Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys (see part of them on the video above and part here) — including several that seem to be throwing offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski under the bus and another in which Howard refers to a female reporter as "sweetheart" — have raised some eyebrows.
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss what the Panthers should do about Newton, if anything. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to join the conversation with a comment of your own.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
The Panthers can revive the Cam Newton who was able to create considerable problems for opponents last year and make everyone forget about the Cam Newton who has created considerable problems for the Panthers this year.
The Panthers just need to take some of the load off the young man’s shoulders. Too much has been expected of him, both externally and internally. The first step in righting Newton is to give him some help.
The Panthers probably have the most talented running back trio in the NFL in DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert. Between them, they carried the ball 15 times Sunday while Newton put it up 37 times.
The Panthers rank 18th in rushing attempts per game, and they would rank much lower if you took away Newton’s runs.
Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Cam Newton's having a sophomore slump, and most of his struggles have to do with an eye-discipline problem.
The Panthers' starting quarterback not only eyeballs his targets inside the red zone, but he's plagued with a case of shifty eyes whenever talking to the media.
Newton already has beady eyes, and the tendency to look down and avoid eye contact makes him seem disingenuous. He's fueling his critics because of his postgame news conference, and until he learns how to play the political game his detractors will continue to add up.
It would also benefit the Panthers to have last year's quarterback sensation be on the move more. Allow Newton to create more big plays by rolling him out of the pocket and using his legs to produce first downs.
[Updated at 2:09 p.m.:
Aaron Wilson, the Baltimore Sun
The Panthers haven't quite reached critical mass with Cam Newton, even though the young, talented quarterback is experiencing growing pains.
The former Heisman Trophy-winner committed two turnovers and misfired on a pivotal fourth-down throw in a loss to the Cowboys. The rudderless Panthers are 1-5 and just fired General Manager Marty Hurney, a former sports writer.
If he were writing a column on Newton, it might say: Stay the course despite Newton having six interceptions and a 79.3 passer rating.
The former Auburn star has 26 career touchdown passes, 23 interceptions, 17 touchdown runs and 11 fumbles.
Athletic and strong-armed, Newton's accuracy and decision-making still need improvement. Give him time and he'll gradually improve.
In this league, you bet on potential greatness. Newton still has that within his grasp.]