Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/11/12
At 4-9, the Carolina Panthers’ season looks far different now than most fans would have imagined in August.  Coming off a 2011 season that was full of improvement and optimism, the sky was the limit for the Panthers.  Cam Newton, a rookie quarterback, was the team’s most valuable player, and he proved to be the centerpiece of the organization moving forward.  The Panthers went from a 2-14 team in 2010 to a 6-10 team in 2011.  Many supporters believed the 2012 season could bring 9, 10, or even 11 wins.   Center Ryan Kalil went so far as to write a letter to fans in the Charlotte Observer guaranteeing that Carolina would be playing in the Super Bowl. The reality is, at 4-9, the Carolina Panthers are struggling.  An important fact to recognize is that this team would be far worse without Cam Newton at quarterback.  He has fulfilled his role of stabilizing the passing game for the Panthers.  He has excelled, and he has improved.The most critical gauge for a player’s continuing success is improvement.  Improvement is different at varying stages of a player’s career, but it is always recognized.  Cam Newton has improved himself since 2011, although some disagree.  Stats will clear the air.From 2011 to 2012, Newton:Decreased his interception percentage, or interceptions per pass attempt, from 3.3% to 2.6%.  Improvement: Better decision-making.Increased his yards gained per pass attempt from 7.8 to 8.3, and his yards gained per completion from 13.1 to 14.2.  A full yard per completion is great progress.  Improvement: More efficient passing.Is on pace to almost match his total passing yards, in approximately 35 less attempts. Improvement: More efficient passing.Increased his rush yards per attempt from 5.6 to 6.2.  Improvement: More efficient rushing.Is on pace to surpass his total rushing yards by 80 yards.  Improvement: Rushing consistency.The most comparable statistics are the ones that are broken down per attempt.  As the total number of attempts will continually vary, the efficiency in a yards per attempt stat will always remain the same.  With that said, Cam Newton has improved on his yards per attempt in both the passing and the rushing categories.  He has run the Carolina offense quite well.The offensive troubles for Carolina stem from the run game, and more importantly the running backs.  I pointed out Newton’s improvement in his rush attack, in order to illustrate that, where the Panthers have struggled, he has excelled.  Carolina, as a team, is less potent because of a vast change in running power. From 2011 to 2012, the Carolina Panthers:Yards per rush attempt regressed from 5.4 to 4.3.  One yard on every attempt is game changing.  They were first in the league in yards per rush attempt 2011.Went from the 3rd ranked rush offense to the 11th ranked rush offense.  Where Newton is picking up slack, the running backs are failing.In such a competitive league, stats like the above can completely change a team’s season.  For those who may have doubted him in the beginning of the season, Cam Newton is clearly not Carolina’s problem.  He will improve with each passing year, but he needs help.  Newton has the ability to pull a team from the dirges of the NFL and make them compete.  If the Carolina running game can pick up as Newton continues to mature, the team can be a force to be reckoned with in years to come.  Follow me on twitter @Nicolas_Kern     
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vlade Divac indicates DeMarcus Cousins’ agents killed other deal

Report: Julius Thomas traded to Dolphins

Joe Mixon likely to go undrafted in April?

Belichick officially updates boat’s name to ‘VII Rings’

Canseco warns humanity about robot takeover in Twitter rant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before pitching in 2000 NLDS

Kings throw shade at Cousins in press release announcing trade

Report: Jets tampered with Revis through private phones, secret meetings

Calipari shoots down talk of him leaving Kentucky for Pelicans

Report: Carmelo prefers trade to Clippers or Lakers

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker