Photos: Charlotte Observer Hits Cam Newton Hard with a Hello Kitty Picture

Every reasonable football fan around knew that the expectations folks had for Cam Newton this year were ridiculous. Yes, Newton started off his rookie campaign in stellar fashion. And yes, his numbers in 2011 were off the charts – particularly given his inexperience. However, he did go through a very noticeable decline in the home stretch last year, and that decline exposed a lot more of his weaknesses than people seemed to want to admit.

This year, Newton has been fine. Obviously he struggled versus the New York Giants, but there is a reason they were Super Bowl champs last year. Even with all of their injuries, Eli Manning and Co. are really, really good. There are far greater sins that young quarterbacks can make in this league than losing to New York’s only legitimate football team.

And the pouting that we saw from Newton after the fact, well, it’s pretty much what you expect from a young, ultra-competitive quarterback.

So yeah, we’re three games into the year and the NFC South is wide open – there is no need to overreact.

Unless you’re the Charlotte Observer, of course.

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Newton will bounce back because he’s too talented not to. That said, if the Charlotte media suddenly decides that he’s Jay Cutler and not just a young quarterback trying to learn the ropes, they could sabotage him and his growth potential far more quickly than anyone really realizes. In this day and age, labels stick. If you label Newton soft, a whiner or whatever else – it’ll be very hard for him to shed that label.

Keep an eye on his psyche this week versus the Atlanta Falcons. That game will tell us a lot about his character and what he’s made of mentally.

(Kudos Ryan McGee)

Photo Credit: The Big Lead

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