NFL: Newton wants to rebound
CHARLOTTE ó Cam Newton isnít apologizing for being a sore loser.
The Carolina quarterback was still stewing over getting blown out 30-3 by Tennessee, saying Wednesday that itís ěembarrassingî and doesnít sit well with his temperament.
ěRookie, no rookie, it doesnít matter,î he said. ěIf youíre on the Carolina Panthers, it doesnít matter what your experience level is, itís not acceptable.î
He said the Panthers need to change their ways ó quickly.
Carolina plays at playoff-starved Detroit (6-3) on Sunday and the Lions will be plenty motivated after getting blown out themselves last week 37-13 by division rival Chicago.
ěIf we bring that same mentality that we brought last week weíre going to get busted in the mouth,î Newton said. ěThis is a physical team, down after down. They have an arsenal. They get after the quarterback and wreak havoc. And if you donít play at that level or higher youíre going to get beat.
ěYouíre going to get embarrassed.î
Despite their record, the Panthers (2-7) hadnít been embarrassed before the Tennessee game. The Panthers were competitive in their first eight contests. But after a bye week they came out flat and their high-powered offense failed to score a touchdown against the 15th-ranked Titans defense. Newton was sacked five times, intercepted once and held to 209 yards passing.
He said that canít happen again this week.
Newton believes the Lions, led by fiery defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, have the best and deepest defensive front the Panthers have seen all year. He said the front four gets so much pressure they donít necessarily need to blitz linebackers and defensive backs.
ěTheyíre dangerous,î he said.
Newton can be dangerous too, as many teams have found out.
But Carolinaís concern in this copycat league is teams will replicate what the Titans did to the Panthers last week and begin to take away their vertical passing game.
ěBottom line, we have to protect Cam better,î center Ryan Kalil said.
Newton, as he regularly does, put the blame on himself.
He said he learned several things from watching last weekís game film, including just how important it is to get rid of the ball when under pressure.
Four times Newton was sacked on first down by the Titans.
ěA throwaway incompletion and itís second and 10 rather than second and 17,î Newton said. ěWe can work with (second and 10). We have plays in the playbook that can get us back on point to get a first down.î
Itís not unusual for Newton to beat himself up in the media.
He said he holds himself ó as well as his teammates ó to a high standard, not only through words but his actions. Thatís why Newton said he stays late on most days to study film.
ěYou invest all of that time into it and youíre not reaping the benefits like youíd expect,î Newton said. ěThatís why it hurts me so much.î
And often times it shows.
Newton has come under criticism when television cameras have caught him sitting on the bench wearing a white Gatorade towel over his head and looking dejected, which some view as poor leadership. Others criticized him for not shaking the hands with the Atlanta Falcons after the teamís loss at the Georgia Dome, calling him a sore loser.
ěI can only live my life,î Newton said. ěBut for me (losing) is something that Iím not used to.î
Coach Ron Rivera doesnít want Newton to change one iota.
Heís repeatedly called him an intense competitor who deeply cares about winning and losing.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, also a former No. 1 overall draft pick, can certainly understand Newtonís frustration.
Stafford started 10 games as a rookie in 2009 and lost all but two. The Lions finished 2-14.
ěAs a rookie every week is a learning process,î Stafford said. ěYouíre seeing an opponent for the first time every time you play. Youíre seeing a new defensive coordinator, a new scheme, new players… so itís difficult. You have to play through. Camís doing a heck of a job. Heís throwing the ball around and playing great. Heís fun to watch. Heíll be just fine.î
Stafford laughs when thinking back to his rookie season.
ěI didnít have some of my best games as a rookie, just as some of these games wonít be Camís best,î Stafford said. ěBut going out there and battling and playing with your teammates gives you confidence as a leader ó and thatís huge in the long run.î
NOTES: The MRI on Jeremy Shockeyís side came back negative and the hope is heíll be ready for Detroit, Rivera said. Shockey was held out of practice Wednesday to rest, along with linebacker James Anderson (ankle), cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (head) and linebacker Jason Phillips (calf). Of those, Phillips is the least ready to play, Rivera said… The Panthers begin a stretch of three straight road games Sunday. Five of their final seven games are on the road.
The Associated Press