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Cam Newton’s return to the Panthers was extra impactful than anybody imagined

Cam Newton’s return to Carolina wasn’t simply vital, it was iconic. No matter preconceived notions you had about No. 1’s return had been rapidly torn asunder because the workforce’s legendary quarterback didn’t simply revitalize the Panthers, he revolutionized them.

In a matter of a single afternoon the Panthers went from a boring, dead-in-the-water group that conjures up no pleasure, to a workforce that not solely dominated the very best of the NFC, however one which felt prefer it had one thing particular brewing consequently. That’s the Cam Newton impact.

To grasp why this transfer means a lot, we have to look at what bought the Panthers within the doghouse within the first place.

For the higher a part of a decade your entire Carolina offense revolved round Newton, and the workforce was constructed along with his abilities in thoughts. This meant overloading the workforce with expertise at ability positions, however woefully neglecting the offensive line to stability out this greediness at different positions. For essentially the most half, this labored. When wholesome, Newton was in a position to masks safety deficiencies along with his athleticism, escapability, and let’s face it, a dimension that made it robust to deliver him down. This was not a properly constructed strategy, but it surely labored till Newton was injured.

Deciding it was time to maneuver on, the Panthers employed Matt Rhule, boasting they had been transferring to a extra analytical strategy to the group, and jettisoned the best QB the franchise had ever had. This was first met with confidence, as a result of the idea was that Rhule and Co. had been geniuses who may flip it round, however over time it grew to become obvious they’d completely misjudged their QB scenario. From Teddy Bridgewater to Sam Darnold, one thing inside their numbers and evaluation stated this might work — however in each instances they suffered from the identical difficulty: Neither had been vocal leaders, and neither may handle with the shortage of safety established for Newton.

Bringing again Newton was a tacit admission of failure by the Panthers entrance workplace, but it surely at the very least confirmed the workforce was in a position to swallow its pleasure. For weeks followers had been saying the workforce wanted to deliver again Newton, and whereas it’s pretty widespread for followers to assume they know higher than the choice makers, on this case they had been one hundred pc right.

Taking restricted snaps on two days of observe, Newton scored two touchdowns in Carolina’s 34-10 dismantling of the Arizona Cardinals — however his presence meant a lot extra. Cam’s presence, his unrelenting management, his demand for excellence, all remodeled the Panthers into a completely completely different workforce. On either side of the ball Carolina seemed revitalized, motivated, and there was no mistaking who bought the credit score for the change.

The best athletes, the legendary ones, don’t simply carry out on the sphere, courtroom or ice — they encourage everybody round them to be higher. That’s exactly what occurred when Newton returned. Hate him all you need, however there has by no means been any dispute that the dudes who play with Cam Newton completely love every part he brings to the desk. Anybody who watched the Panthers play on Sunday know this was not the identical workforce enjoying for the prior 9 weeks. They’d gained video games, positive — however there was no vitality, no pleasure, no confidence. It was like Carolina had been shocked they really gained video games, not believing they deserved to.

In two days Cam Newton not solely fully remodeled the Panthers right into a workforce that appears prefer it may make a late push for a wild card spot within the NFC, however his impact on the soccer workforce was being felt by the Charlotte Hornets, discovering themselves as deep underdogs to the seemingly unbeatable Golden State Warriors.

A week ago I wrote about the Panthers being an utter disaster that would take years to repair. These points haven’t magically been mounted simply because the workforce signed Cam Newton, they’ve simply been kicked down the highway. The distraction is not only welcome, it’s intoxicating, and in two days Carolina went from being totally forgettable, and have become unmissable. That’s what Newton means.

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