“I did a lot of reflecting this offseason. I wanted to look at a lot of things. How was I with my teammates? How was I with the media? I know you have a job to do like I have a job to do. It was a time to look and see what I could do better. People have to realize that I am a person too. I play football, so, yes, that makes me different, but I am just like everyone else in a lot of ways. People see things and they misunderstand me a lot of times.”
– Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton seems much more comfortable around the press these days. A YouWager news source got exclusive time with Newton and his coach, and reports that Newton seem to be a more mature, team player, too. As many sportsbook bettors saw, some thought the young Heisman Trophy winner seemed aloof. Moody. Now, Newton says if offended anyone, he didn’t meant to do it. He said, as a rookie, the Pro Bowl simply blew him away.
Newton told YouWager’s source, “I mean I see Tom Brady and Ray Lewis and all these guys and I’m there doing things with them. And I’m like a young kid. I have my hat turned backwards, so maybe people see me that way and think I don’t care. But I love this game and I love the history of the game. And I was in awe when I was there. As far as not signing for a teammate, that isn’t going to happen. There are a lot of people asking for stuff to be signed, but when a teammate asks you just do it. I don’t know how people got the idea that I was the way they said I was. I don’t know what they expected.”
Is this the new Cam Newton?
Once upon a time, Nabisco, the giant cookie manufacturer, created a minor media sensation with a funny campaign that promoted “The New Fig Newtons.” In the commercials, a short fat guy, dressed as a big New Fig Newton, shouted out the name and said, “Hit it, Hal.” Lively music began, and the Giant Fig Newton danced on a stage. In reality, the New Fig Newtons was the same as the old Fig Newtons, wrapped in a slightly longer cookie. Nabisco now sells Newtons as Fruit Thins and Crisps. The filling inside is still advertised as the Original Fig.
Is this a New Newton? Or did the Panthers merely send their young star to charm school? Other sources confirmed that the young man generally seemed to more relaxed around people. Carolina’s head coach, Ron Rivera told YouWager’s source, “I think he’s a lot more comfortable in his own skin.”
Coach Rivera also mentioned Newton stronger investment in the team, with his teammates. “One of the things he’s taken to heart is that it’s not just about him wanting to be the best, it’s about him wanting to help make his teammates the best. You notice that now more.”
In the 2012 NFL football wagering season, the Carolina Panthers began 1-6 and Newton didn’t look like he was playing as well as he did, right out of the gate, as an NFL rookie. There was much talk in the online betting community of a Sophomore Slump. Then, in his last 9 games, Newton threw 14 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions, as the Panthers won 6 of their last 9. This was the kind of team YouWager’s NFL football betting fans had been expecting to see, earlier in the year.
Maybe Newton just needed to grow up. Maybe there was too much responsibility on a rookie’s shoulders. Coach Rivera told YouWager’s source, “We put too much on the quarterback. I did a self-scout after our five games, and pulled five games from the previous year and found out we put the ball in the quarterback’s hands 33 percent more of the time. So we put more on him. We put more focus and attention on him and got away from the core of what we did the year before. We changed some of the ideas and attitude after that and got back on track.”
In the 2012 season, YouWager bettors celebrated –or cursed- the success of other rookies like RG3, Andrew Luck, and Colin Kaepernick. Cam Newton dropped from some of those conversations. This year, he wants to change that. Newton said, “Look, I had fun watching all those guys. I am a fan of the game. I love watching other quarterbacks play. But when I got out and compete against them, I want to beat them bad. That’s who I am.”
Coach Rivera told YouWager’s source, “We took advantage of what his real strengths are, which is his movement off of the play-action passing. He has the ability to keep plays alive and throw it down the field and run out of trouble. His most successful runs are off play action when he pulls it and runs. That’s when he’s most dangerous, when they aren’t expecting him to run. We have to limit the hits he takes as well.”
Newton says it’s actually more dangerous in the pocket. “Tom Brady and Carson Palmer both had knee injuries in there,” he said.
Can YouWager’s NFL football betting fans expect big things from Newton in 2013? He seems to think so. “Man, I just love to play this game,” he said. “I mean I love it.”