Ron Rivera: Cam Newton won’t succumb to sophomore slump

BY JESSE COLLIN, syndication

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had an outstanding rookie year last season. The question is, can he follow it up in 2012-2013? Photo by: Parker Anderson

There have been several forces working against Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton this offseason.

The first was the “Madden Cover Curse,” which Newton seemingly avoided by losing the vote to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Now, fans are worried that Newton will fall victim to a “sophomore slump” after putting up ridiculous numbers during his rookie season. However, Newton will have the benefit of a full offseason heading into his second year – something that he didn’t have last season because of the lockout.

While Ron Rivera is certainly aware that it won’t be an easy task for Newton to duplicate his record-breaking rookie season, the Panthers head coach isn’t concerned about a potential slump for his star quarterback.

“I will say this about a sophomore slump: If there’s anybody that’s going work through it, he’s going to work through it,’’ Rivera said.

“When the season was over, one of the things he said was he wanted to find a way to make sure he didn’t have one. I think the less we talk about it, the less we get caught up in it, the better. It’s like the Madden curse; he really wanted to be the cover. I think that’s the thing. Instead of running from it, saying, ‘Oh, I hope it doesn’t happen — it’s not going to happen.’ I’m not going to let it happen. I think that’s his approach to the sophomore slump.’’

Rivera also noted that avoiding a sophomore slump is not all on Newton. Getting the necessary help from his teammates will also be important.

“I also think the guys around him have to continue to step up,’’ Rivera said.

This help should come predominantly from the Carolina running backs. In addition to the already stellar tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers added Mike Tolbert this offseason, giving them arguably the best backfield in the NFL.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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