By Danny Cox
This week’s Thursday night football game saw the Carolina Panthers get absolutely destroyed by the New York Giants 36-7. Any number of people can be blamed for the loss because it appeared as if no-one on the Panthers’ sideline was doing their job.
Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith took it upon himself to get on the case of someone that he feels deserved it most. That “someone” was quarterback Cam Newton.
“I don’t want to be passive and not do it because if I don’t do it, who will?” Smith said. “The same way with my son; I can’t expect somebody else (to do that). So, yeah, I lit into him because I thought it was an opportunity for him to see and understand what was going on. This is more than about playing football. It’s about becoming a man and understanding what this is.”
During the game, backup Derek Anderson came into the game to replace Newton since nothing was working anyway. Newton had just thrown his third interception and the Giants were already up by 26 points.
Instead of cheering on his team and continuing to watch the game, Newton actually sat on the bench with a sullen look on his face. In fact, he hardly paid attention at all after coming out of the game in the fourth quarter.
Smith felt as if something needed to be said about Newton’s attitude, and that he needed to learn how important it was to stay positive. After all, it was just the one game. Smith went over to Newton on the bench and decided to have a good talk with him.
“I said, ‘Get up and learn from this,’ ” Smith said. “I watched DA (Anderson) and Jimmy (Clausen) observe from the sidelines the last 20-something games and try to get mental reps. This is an opportunity for you to get some mental reps. Don’t just sit on the bench and sulk. I know you feel bad, but that isn’t going to help us.”
Newton said nothing about the situation and Panthers’ public relation people said that he won’t speak until next Wednesday.
This isn’t the first time that Newton’s attitude and demeanor during a loss has come into the spotlight. Last year, two of Carolina’s offensive linemen even had conversations with Newton about not getting down and keeping his head in the game at all times.
Being emotional in the NFL is not a problem whatsoever, and it is evident that most of the players in the league are. Still, even a big deficit or losing streak is no reason to give up and have others question how you view the game. That, in itself, can take your credibility down a notch or two by your peers.
Newton really needs to make sure that this isn’t a trend that continues because he is in a premiere position in the NFL, and one that always has the spotlight on him. Keep up this kind of behavior and things could go down an even worse path for the second-year quarterback.
A couple more pouting sessions and Newton may even start losing the respect and backing of his own Panther teammates.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.