Newton says it's back to basics after rough start

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012
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Newton's stats through five games aren't all that different than his totals through five games last year.

But numbers are one thing.

The eyeball test is quite another.

And right now Newton doesn't look particularly comfortable or sharp running the offense. He one-hopped a pass to wide open tight end Ben Hartsock in the end zone on a key fourth down play in Sunday's 16-12 loss to the Seahawks.

"I pride myself on being very prepared and being able to do things when my number is called," Newton said.

And while the quarterback hasn't had much success this season, Cecil Newton said his son "is too big of a competitor not to figure it out" and there's no doubt he'll be back making plays soon.

"He's going to work hard until it's fixed," Cecil Newton said. "He's always done that."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton is staying locked on receivers too long and not checking down quick enough. And he said on the read options he's keeping the ball too often instead of giving it up to the running backs.

"He's trying to make too many plays on his own," Rivera said.

Jake Delhomme, who started seven seasons at quarterback for the Panthers, knows the feeling. He believes Newton might be trying to do too much.

In his first season with the Panthers, Delhomme took the Panthers to the Super Bowl. The following year Carolina, a heavy favorite in the NFC, lost Steve Smith to a broken leg in the season opener and began the season 1-7.

"I'm thinking, man what am I doing wrong?" Delhomme said. "You find yourself preparing as hard you can, watching as much film as you can and then you're like, 'Why isn't coming through during the game?' It just eats you up. It tears you apart. But finally I realized I was trying to do too much. You have to trust what you do and not try to do too much.

"There's a fine line there," he said.

Delhomme said he's met Newton once and said there is tremendous pressure on Newton to carry the small-market franchise.

"They've sort of hung the moon on Cam in Charlotte," he said. "The expectations on him to lead this franchise are incredible. We have to remember he's 23 years old. He's still a kid."

And the "kid" — though wobbling badly — is confident he'll bounce back.

"We are going through trying times as a team right now and trust me when I tell you things will get better," Newton said. "There's a brighter day ahead."