Yes, you heard me right. I just compared Cam Newton to Brock “The Lobster” Osweiler.
Because of this statistic from Scott Barrett: “Cam Newton is averaging a 72.5 passer rating over his last 16 games. For perspective, Brock Osweiler averaged a 72.2 passer rating last season.”
That’s actually terrible. Newton has only averaged a .3 better rating than Osweiler.
And where is Osweiler now? On the Broncos bench, where he belongs.
This season, Newton has posted fantasy outings of 13.1, 11.7, and 8.2. This past week, he was benched for Derek Anderson after Newton threw three interceptions. The only thing that saved Newton’s fantasy outing was a three-yard touchdown run. To top it off, the Panthers were playing the Saints, who have one of the worst secondaries in the league and are allowing a passer rating of 141.4 this season. If Newton can’t even get it done against the Saints, how is he going to fair against better defenses in the coming weeks?
Sadly, I don’t think it’s going to get any better. So far, Newton has more interceptions this year (4) than he does touchdowns (3), and looks nothing like the MVP he was two years ago.
One thing to keep in mind is Newton’s off-season shoulder surgery. He had surgery in late March to fix a lingering injury he suffered in the 2016 season. Is it possible that he’s either not recovered 100 percent, or the surgery has altered his play somehow? Hard to say, but it could definitely be a factor. Before the Week 3 game, he drew a questionable tag for his shoulder and ankle, which could show that he’s playing through some injuries.
To make things worse, Newton is also without Greg Olson for the rest of the season, who broke his foot last week. One passing threat gone.
On top of that, the Panthers head coach has said he is going to continue to limit Newton’s running, which limits Newton’s versatility and makes defenses not have to worry about him scampering everywhere.
Newton’s poor performance is also impacting the rest of the Panthers offense. Kelvin Benjamin, who looked rejuvenated after a terrible 2016 season, is now unstartable. Christian McCaffery is making the best out of the short passes from Newton, which is great if you’re in a PPR league, but frustrating if you play standard scoring.
Going forward, I don’t think there’s any way you can comfortably start Newton. If I had him, I would bench him and find someone else to start. If Newton really isn’t healthy, then it’s probably in the Panthers best interest to rest him and let him heal fully.
So, is Cam Newton the new Brock Osweiler? Yes and no. Yes, because he’s performing terribly like Osweiler, even though he’s surrounded by talented teammates. No, because unlike Osweiler, Newton has been struggling with injuries. Osweiler is just plain garbage, while Newton actually has shown great talent in the past.
One last thing: If Newton isn’t 100 percent, then he’s becoming part of an NFL trend this year where players “bear through” their injuries and get taken off the injury report.
Jordan Howard and Demarco Murray are two recent players that did this in Week 3. Howard played through a shoulder injury, and later stated: “I was hurt pretty bad. I didn’t feel like I could finish. But…my team…kept fighting, so I had to keep playing.” Murray played through a tweaked hamstring, but made it through the whole game.
I understand that no NFL player is fully “100 percent” and players want to tough it out and help their team win, but there comes a point when resting and healing is the best option for long-term success. In Newton’s case, that may be the best option if he is hurt. If he’s just plain struggling, then not even rest will help Newton.