Cam Newton is Cam Newton, unapologetically so. He’s completely comfortable with who he is, and he has no problem being himself in the biggest of moments – celebratory or otherwise. Some players, however, find this annoying.
Which, when you really think about it, should come as no surprise.
“Oh yeah, he’d annoy the heck out of you, especially if that person was beating you or was 15-1 or the MVP of the league,” Panthers sideline reporter Jordan Gross said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You don’t want to lose to anybody, but you sure don’t want to lose to somebody that’s obviously enjoying beating you so much, and you see it by the people on the other side. You watch: When somebody sacks Cam, there’s at least a 75 percent chance that they’re going to dance, they’re going to do the first down, they’re going to rip their shirt off Superman style. Everybody hates it. But I’ll tell you this much: Everybody loves having him on their team. There’s guys on other teams in the NFL that would just kill to have Cam be their quarterback.”
Gross, 35, spent his entire 11-year career in Carolina. The eighth overall pick in 2003, he was coming off a Pro Bowl season when the Panthers selected Newton first overall in 2011. The Panthers went from 6-10 during Newton’s rookie season to 7-9 in 2012 to 12-4 in Gross’ final year in 2013. Now Newton is 16-1 and likely the MVP of the league.
How has he changed over the years?
“I think it’s the small, little things that you don’t really pay attention to,” Gross said. “When I played with Cam for my three seasons with him, I always felt like he felt it was his responsibility to create the big play, to win the game all by himself, that every play needed to be a big first down or a touchdown or an amazing escape out of the pocket. And a lot of times that ended up hurting the offense or hurting him because he would expose himself to an injury, he would force the ball maybe, he’d be a little bit loose with it when he was running the ball. And now when I watch him, he knows how important it is just to keep drives alive. You’re seeing that translate into the fact that the Panthers have had so many long drives this year and have scored so many touchdowns because Cam is finding a way to keep these drives moving.”