As Cam Newton enters his third season as the face of the Carolina Panthers franchise, the team seems intent on moving away from its read-option offense. Throughout this year’s training camp, offensive coordinator Mike Shula has kept Newton mostly in the pocket.
After a somewhat disappointing 2012 season for Newton, it is obvious the Panthers are moving in a new direction with the offense. The goal now is to develop Newton’s pure passing abilities rather than having him scramble to make plays.
Newton showed improvement as a passer last year, limiting his turnovers while increasing his yards-per-attempt average. The Panthers coaching staff obviously wants to build on this improvement. This change in the offense represents their growing trust in their quarterback’s arm rather than just his legs. Now the question is, should fantasy owners be concerned about Newton’s rushing totals during the upcoming season?
In short, the answer to that question is no. Cam is still a beast towards the goal line. He also registered significant carries during the second half of the season when the team explored ditching the read option. While his designed runs will not be as frequent, Newton will still find ways to use his running abilities.
If anything, this change should help Newton register his best passing season as a pro. With a focus on a more traditional rushing attack, the Panthers can utilize play action even more than they did last season. Newton is also an elite deep ball passer and will be throwing to a still productive Steve Smith.
If Newton can continue to improve in the pocket, a season with 4,000+ yards passing and 25+ touchdowns isn’t out of reach.