By Cris Collinsworth
There were a few surprises in Week One, including Buffalo’s blowout win over the AFC West Champion Chiefs, the Bears’ reminder that defenses still win games, and some incredible kickoff returns despite moving the kickoff line up to the 35. But, my biggest surprise was the play of Cam Newton.
I watched Newton in the National Championship game and thought he lacked the accuracy to be a star in the NFL. He had never worked much under center, and so much of their offense at Auburn seem to revolve around his running, or faking the run and then throwing. Not exactly a traditional offense in the NFL.
The assumption was that if Newton made it in the NFL it would be in a non-traditional Tim Tebow style of offense. So what did he do? He played like Ben Roethlisberger.
Newton played under center and stood tall in the pocket. He read defenses and delivered strikes. He ran when the situation warranted, and made really strong accurate throws under pressure. It was stunning to watch. Then to make sure we all remembered what kind of athlete he is, he leaped over the pile for a touchdown and played a little air guitar to remind us that this game still belongs to kids.
Carolina still has issues, they struggled running the ball as the Cardinals dared them to throw, but my guess is that teams will be much more balanced playing Cam Newton in the future. Speaking of the future, buying a good season ticket package for the Panthers may be a good idea before the prices go up.
Cam Newton should be entertaining the troops in Carolina for the next decade. Enjoy the show, but don’t let it surprise you after what we saw on Sunday. Cam Newton looks like a star.