Well well well. The Panthers have finally gotten something right, this season. Sitting Cam Newton down was the best thing this coaching staff has done, this season. I am someone who believes Ron Rivera should be relieved of his head coaching duties at season’s end; and it’s because of one simple reason- his handling of Cam Newton’s injury.
On Monday Night Football the Carolina Panther’s defense played as well as it has since their Super Bowl run. Holding the explosive New Orleans Saints offense to 12 points is nothing short of a stellar performance. That being said, Cam Newton couldn’t throw the football into the ocean, take it from someone who was at the game- he had receivers open, he couldn’t hit them. Now, of course, there will be Cam Newton haters who say “that’s just Cam sucking” or “he never could throw the ball.” Well, I got news for ya, you don’t get to play quarterback in the NFL if you can’t throw the football. Cam’s first 8 games were outstanding- his best as an NFL player. He had career highs in completion percentage, total QBR, and only turned the ball over 4 times. However, a shoulder injury, I believe sustained on a hit from TJ Watt in the Pittsburgh game, has hindered his ability to pass the ball down the field, and limited his accuracy throughout the Panthers’ 6-game losing streak.
Okay, we get that Cam is hurt, but there’s something else here. As a former multi-sport athlete, I am extremely competitive. I don’t like to lose, at anything. There was a time the simplest of “Uno” games could make me so mad that I broke something in the house. Anybody who’s been an athlete understands Cam Newton wanting to play, wanting to compete, wanting to help his team win. The problem is, the coaching staff allowed Cam Newton, a franchise caliber player, continue to take the field despite being injured to the point he was hurting his team more than helping it. Now, here we are, 2 games left, and Ron Rivera has announced that Taylor Heinicke will start for the Panthers the last two weeks. Panther fans only have 2 questions for the one they call “Riverboat Ron” 1- What the hell took you so long? 2- Why do you think you deserve to retain your position as the head coach, when you allow our franchise player to risk further injury while bringing the entire offense down?
To summarize, the Panthers are doomed for the season, which was clear after consecutive losses to the Browns and Buccaneers. That being said, the bigger issue is with Rivera, and his staff who continued to allow a generational talent to risk career-ending injury to try to make the W-L column look better for their own job security. Another reason for Rivera’s inevitable departure is the defense has been healthy. Before allowing only 12 points against the Saints on Monday night, during this losing streak the defense was giving up 30.2 points per game. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback was in those games, the Panthers were going to lose. Cam should have been sat down 4 weeks ago, and there would have been an excuse to keep Rivera around. However, he waited until the Panthers are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention to get the face of the franchise the rest and healing that he undoubtedly deserves. I’m not booing Cam Newton, the man is a competitor. I’m not booing the Panthers, because they’re still my team. I’m booing the man at the top, who allowed this to turn into an avalanche.
Until next time, y’all #KeepPounding