On October 6, after Cam Newton threw three interceptions, fumbled and was sacked seven times in Arizona and the Panthers lost, 22-6, Rodney Harrison popped off on NBC about how it was time for Carolina to bench Cam Newton. There was little or no context, just another talking head going knee-jerk based on a 60-minute performance.
Rodney Harrison says it’s time for the #Panthers to change quarterbacks
— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) October 7, 2013
[Aside: What did Harrison say about Matt Ryan, who threw 61 passes and was intercepted four times in Arizona Sunday? Nothing.]
Two weeks prior, Newton was effective in beating the Giants handily at home (15-of-27, 223 yards, three TDs, one interception, one rushing TD).
Here’s what Newton has done since the disaster in the desert:
* Three straight games completing 70% or more passes
* 6 TDs passing, 0 interceptions
* 2 TDs rushing, 0 fumbles
This week, the Panthers host the reeling Falcons, who are coming off their own drubbing in the desert.
Here’s what Rodney Harrison doesn’t understand: Arizona’s defense is actually quite strong. Significantly better than many (yours truly included; Jason Lisk, too) anticipated. The Cardinals held the Lions to 49 rushing yards on 20 carries in a home victory. Their lone home defeat was against the 7-1 Seahawks. That was the only game in which the Arizona defense was thoroughly beaten – the Seahawks had touchdown drives of 82, 73 and 80 yards.
Yes, I’m aware that in the three wins post-Arizona, Newton has carved up some poor defenses (Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa). I’m also aware Newton still has to face New Orleans twice, the 49ers, the Patriots and Jets.
My guesses at Rodney Harrison’s knee-jerk moment Sunday night:
* Fire Rex Ryan if the Jets lose to the Saints
* Chip Kelly isn’t working, he’s got to go, if the Eagles lose to the Raiders
* Mike Tomlin might be in trouble if the Steelers lose to the Patriots
* If the Cowboys lose to the Vikings, bench Tony Romo!