Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is undoubtedly suffering from a severe sophomore slump, but at what point does the electric dual-threat quarterback need to start worrying about his job security in Carolina?
Before the season it seemed impossible for Newton to suffer from the proverbial "sophomore slump" considering his historic Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign after being the No. 1 selection in the 2011 NFL draft.
Newton has led the Panthers to one of the worst records in the league at 2-7 just past the halfway point of the 2012 NFL season.
He's completing only 57 percent of his passes with 2,143 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions, bringing him to a mediocre 77 quarterback rating.
Outside of struggling on the field, Newton has had issues with the media and his own teammates. His poor attitude in defeat has enabled the media to jump on him and question his leadership skills, and his own teammates, such as veteran receiver Steve Smith, ripped him publicly for his attitude.
There are many issues for Newton. Part of the issue is the Carolina coaching staff attempting to further make Newton a pocket-passer. Newton entered the league primarily as a passer but was able to use his elite athleticism to act similar to a running back should the pocket break down.
This season the Panthers have asked Newton to tone down on his scrambling in an attempt to preserve his body and stay healthy, but it has had a negative effect overall on his game because it has made him more of a one dimensional threat.
Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has gone as far as eliminating the majority of the read-option plays in the offensive attack to take some of the decision making out of Newton's hands because he has struggled so much reading defenses.
Of course, it goes without saying that part of Newton's woes are a direct result of the lack of talent on the roster and the ineptitude of the coaching staff. Newton doesn't have much to work with in the passing game outside of Smith, and the coaching staff isn't exactly turning him lose and playing to his strengths.
That doesn't change the fact that when Newton is in the pocket he is forcing the ball without reading the defense rather than finding the open man. Newton is clearly attempting to make a big play on every pass attempt instead of working his way down the field.
While Newton is playing horribly, his job security is just fine. The options behind him on the depth chart are not all that appealing in career-underachiever Derek Anderson and draft bust Jimmy Clausen.
The current regime in Carolina would never think of outright benching Newton, no matter how horrible he was playing.
Right now the coaching staff is allowing Newton to learn from his mistakes as he develops into the franchise quarterback the organization thinks he can eventually be. Unfortunately, combined with the other problems with the staff and along the roster, it's costing Carolina dearly.
Newton is having a rough go of it in his sophomore year, but he's nowhere close to being in danger of losing job.
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