Panthers quarterback Cam Newton attributes success to preparation
"I can't stress enough how much proper preparation can increase the confidence come game time," he said. "When you come up to the line and you've been coached to expect this look, when you get it, you don't panic. It works wonders. Hard work through the week pays dividends."
Newton is on a great streak with back to back victories and excellent statistics. He has made a career record of 88.2 percent pass completion agais the Saint Louis Cardinals and against the Minnesota Vikings, he finished with a 143.4 passer rating. But he humbly gave the offense the credit for it all.
"It's not me. It's the offense. The line has been playing great, and guys have been catching the ball and doing something with it,” Newton said. “We're playing more confident. We're doing the little things right."
Newton isn’t just getting bigger on the field; he is getting bigger in the eyes of the coaching staff too. They are starting to give him more responsibility as he matures on the offense. He is being given more control.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said that Newton was now more involved in the team’s plays than before.
"He's a little more involved in terms of helping in the decisions about what plays are going to be called. That's been a big part of his maturation process," he said. "He comes in on Tuesday (typically a day off), they sit down and go through a list, and he brings a list. They talk about what he's most comfortable with.
He said that they weren’t just going blind with Newton; they discussed every game and practice to find any ways of improvement.
"Come Wednesday, after practice they talk about what he did like and didn't like, and Thursday it's the same thing,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the team is playing any less. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula and the starting and backup quarterbacks are playing just as hard as he is and are just as important.
"Coach Shula has been putting in some plays that have been liked by many different players, not just myself,” Newton said. “We have discussions, and if we don't like it, he throws the play out, whether he likes it or not.
Newton said that they weren’t hesitant to ask questions about the plays being made and give their opinions about it.
“We have a slogan – ‘rank-less and tag-less' – so you can take your coaching tag off, take your captain tag off, and if something's not right then you say something about it.”