Cam Newton’s performance over his first five games this season drew praise and prompted a popular theory for the Carolina Panthers quarterback’s success in his fourth season:
Maybe the offseason ankle surgery and preseason rib injury made Newton more of a complete quarterback by forcing him to stay in the pocket and go through his route progressions.
Such talk seems almost preposterous now.
Newton has followed up his successful start with the worst six-game stretch of his career, coinciding with the Panthers’ six-game losing streak, which they’ll try to snap Sunday at New Orleans.
Critics say Newton has reverted to bad habits from early in his career, throwing off his back foot, making poor decisions and forcing passes into coverage.
Newton has refused to blame his struggles on the blocking, or lack of it, he’s received. And though he has not been 100 percent all season, Newton also has refrained from using his health as an excuse. Outside of perhaps one game, Newton just hasn't been the same QB without the ability to run. Obviously rib and ankle injuries will continue to hinder Newton's fantasy upside.