The question of whether Cam Newton can build on his numbers from last year may not be the right question to ask. The Carolina Panthers may actually be able to win more games if Newton is not forced to make some of the amazing plays that he is capable of making. Cam would get in trouble last year when he had to freelance too much and occasionally this would force him to make unnecessary mistakes.
Young players like Newton do have a tendency to jump the gun from time to time. The fact that Jonathan Stewart may be hobbled can have a big impact on the progressions that Newton would be able to make this year, it is rare for a team to have two good running backs to work with like DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart on the roster. The truth of the matter is that there is typically some drop off when it comes to letting the “back up” in the game. The truth is that the Carolina Panthers do not really have a backup running back.
Newton no longer has the tight end tandem of Jeremy Shocky and Greg Olsen on the roster anymore, he simply has Olsen left to patrol the middle of the field and catch some balls. Many observers may be questions exactly how much a guy like Jeremy Shockey has left, but I think at age thirty two he can still contribute to a team at a high level. Shockey does have to stay focused on his future, it could be that the Panthers got rid of Shockey in order to emphasize the skills that Greg Olsen brings to the table. Cam Newton and the Panthers do have to watch out for the turnover bug. Greg Olsen has fumbled a little bit in his career, but it certainly isn’t a problem for him. Ben Hartsock will likely be in charge of the blocking responsibilities that can come at the tight end position.
The Panthers do have a chance to win more games due to all of the troubles that the New Orleans Saints are facing, many of the positive people within the organization probably view the Panthers as capable of winning the division this year. The Panthers will need to see some growth from defensive players like Frank Kease, the guy has a real chance to be a force at nose tackle. Ron Rivera and the entire coaching staff are going to try to plug as many holes as they possibly can.