You knew that Tom Brady and Drew Brees would be leading the NFL in passing yardage, even this early in the season. But come on, who would’ve guessed that Cam Newton would be third? Darren McFadden as the NFL’s rushing leader so far is probably not a stretch, but Ben Tate fifth, less than 100 yards behind and ahead of Adrian Peterson?
On Wednesday, coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be starting this week over interception-machine Luke McCown. While the matchup between Jacksonville and Carolina would typically be overlooked, the enticing battle between Gabbert and Panthers’ rookie, Cam Newton, creates an opportunity for NFL fans to take a glimpse into the future.
Carolina's Cam Newton has more passing yards than any QB other than Tom Brady.
By Nathan Rush
Panthers rookie Cam Newton held the NFL record for passing yards in Weeks 1 and 2 for about three hours, before Patriots three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady raised the bar even higher later in the afternoon.
As we prepare for Week 2, which teams are for real and which teams are not.
By RALPH VACCHIANO
In 2003, the New England Patriots released popular safety Lawyer Milloy, causing an uproar up in Foxboro, Mass. He promptly signed with the Buffalo Bills, and together they hammered the Pats 31-0 on Opening Day. Tom Brady was picked off four times.
The Patriots looked like their NFL dynasty would never get started. The Bills looked like they had recaptured their glory days.
The Bills finished 6-10 that season. The Patriots finished 14-2 and won the Super Bowl.
With Cam Newton's big splash, the NFC South is stacked with top quarterbacks
By Josh Kipnis
This past weekend, we all witnessed history as Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers broke the record for most passing yards in a quarterback’s NFL debut. Even with his astonishing 110.4 passer rating, 2 TD, 422-yard performance, Newton still has a long way to go before he can claim kingship over the division. With Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Josh Freeman leading the other three teams in the NFC South, 2011 should be a very promising year for this division.
We take a look at the Panthers rebuilding year with Cam Newton.
The Panthers dropped off a cliff in 2010, falling to an NFL-worst 2–14 mark and setting numerous team records for offensive futility. As you would expect when a team performs that poorly, much is new for 2011. New coach Ron Rivera — who interviewed for 10 head coaching jobs before finally being hired by Carolina — is determined to turn things around in the aftermath of the John Fox era.
• Inside the Locker Room
With Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer
Is Cam Newton the Week 1 starter?
Probably not. Rivera knows that he and Newton will forever be linked — each a rookie in a critical year in 2011. So it stands to reason that he will protect the Panthers’ investment in Newton a little and not throw him to the wolves too early. With as little time as the lockout afforded, Newton is probably best served sitting on the bench for at least a few games. But by midseason, he’s likely the starter.
What’s the most intriguing question regarding fantasy football and the Panthers?
What will Newton’s value ultimately be? Based on name and draft status alone, he likely will be picked higher in many fantasy drafts than he ultimately deserves in Year 1 (unless you’re in a keeper league). Don’t expect anywhere near Newton’s gaudy production at Auburn (50 total TDs for the season), in part because the Panthers’ wide receiving corps is mediocre at the moment. But we’ve all seen what Newton can do, and if he plays and stays healthy, he’s going to be something else at some point. But when that point comes is anyone’s guess.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: ATL, @HOU, TB
Cam Newton is a wild card. Houston will have never seen him, and Tampa Bay will have seen him just three weeks earlier. And let’s pray the RBs are healthy. If so, they get a Texans D that has switched to the 3-4 and a Bucs D that was 28th vs. the run last year.
• Athlon Best Bets Sleeper: David Gettis, WR Deep-Sleeper: Mike Goodson, RB Overvalued: None Top Rookie: Cam Newton, QB Bounce-Back: DeAngelo Williams, RB Top IDP: Jon Beason, LB
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
Despite spending a second-round pick on Jimmy Clausen last year, the Panthers went early on a quarterback once again. This time it was No. 1 overall with Newton. The Heisman Trophy winner has enormous talent and athletic ability but may be a year or two away from contributing to a fantasy roster. Newton should be stashed in keeper leagues.