He had to share some of the headlines with Tim Tebow and the revival of Tebowmania, but Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton is getting plenty of praise today from columnists and bloggers around the country in the wake of the team's victory Sunday over Washington.
Quarterbacks are big news today in the NFL -- in addition to Newton and Denver's Tebow, a possibly serious leg injury suffered by Detroit Lions' standout Matthew Stafford also gained headlines.
Tebow was big news for leading the Denver Broncos back from a 15-0 deficit to a pair of touchdowns in the last three minutes against Miami and, eventually, an 18-15 overtime victory. It was the first game as a starter for Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner whose NFL quarterback abilities have been questioned by some analysts.
But make no mistake about it ... Newton, last year's Heisman winner, also got plenty of attention. It appears as if much of the country has boarded the Cam Newton Express.
The common theme ... the Panthers are not ready for prime time, with their 2-5 record, but Newton eventually can take them there.
"Cam Newton has 'it,' and by 'it,' I mean the ability to make seven Washington Redskins defenders flail around helplessly as he scrambles for a ridiculous first down on a third-and-long from deep within his own territory," wrote Chris Chase of Yahoo Sports, referring to a play Newton made in the first half Sunday.
Here's a taste of what they're saying today about Carolina's Rookie of the Year candidate:
CHRIS CHASE (Yahoo Sports): "There are so many good things you can say about Cam Newton. Aside from the fact that he's a natural quarterback, he has command of the huddle, knows how to scramble, can avoid big hits, and possesses and on-field awareness that few rookies ever show."
Referring to Newton's scramble for a first down, Chase added, "If it's possible, Kevin Barnes misses two tackles on the play."
Link to the story: yhoo.it/pwWckF
JASON REID (Washington Post): "Everything the Washington Redskins want from their quarterback was on display Sunday. The type of big plays provided by the best ones occurred repeatedly. It was another powerful example of the significance of the NFL's most-important position.
"Rookie Cam Newton reminded the Redskins what they've lacked for so long, leading the Carolina Panthers to a 33-20 victory at Bank of America Stadium. Once again, Newton was a show-stopper ..."
Story link: wapo.st/o2zbMv
LARON LANDRY (Washington Redskins safety): "They control their own destiny with a guy like that. He's a great quarterback. He's phenomenal. You just have to keep building around him."
Story link: wapo.st/o2zbMv
DEANGELO HALL (Redskins cornerback): "You can't coach that kid's toughness. You can't coach his swag. You can't coach his attitude and his demeanor to be great. You can't coach that, man. And that kid definitely has it."
Story link: wapo.st/o2zbMv
TOM THRELKELD (known as "Spence" on the DC Pro Sports Report): "The Panthers have committed a lot of turnovers this year (Cam Newton threw three interceptions last week), so the Redskins defense understandably came in hoping to create some additional turnovers and get the offense on a short field. It never happened.
"Newton was virtually flawless and looked not only far more athletic than Washington's defense, but much smarter, too ... The problem wasn't Washington's quarterback this time. The problem was Carolina's quarterback. Cam Newton was too good and the Redskins had no answer for him."
Story link: bit.ly/nvW43Q
RICH CAMPBELL (Washington Times): "Cam Newton stood in the corner of the end zone and pantomimed ripping open the chest of his shirt, while fans showered him with cheers. It's his trademark touchdown celebration, one that NFL teams are quickly getting used to seeing from the league's most dynamic rookie. Newton mimics how Clark Kent reveals his Superman costume, with that unforgettable 'S,' under his dress shirt.
"Newton might now have been a superhero on Sunday, but he looked darn close against the Washington Redskins' defense. He made Bank of America Stadium his phone booth ..."
"The afternoon was supposed to be about new Washington quarterback John Beck. Instead, Newton showed the Redskins how exciting a bona fide franchise quarterback prospect can be."
Story link: bit.ly/pDLAhA
PAT YASINSKAS (ESPN ... and a former Observer writer): "That (the victory) alone isn't going to make Carolina's season. The Panthers are 2-5, and I'll go way out on a limb and say they're not going to make the playoffs this season. That will come in the future. But they will have an impact on the NFC South race the rest of this season.
"The Panthers do have an opportunity to build the first winning streak of (head coach Ron) Rivera's tenure. The Minnesota Vikings (1-6) come to town in Week 8. After that, Carolina has a bye week. After that, the Panthers could start playing the role of spoiler for the NFC South in the second half of the season."
Story link: es.pn/ogYbrW
CHARLES CASSERLY (CBS Sports): "They (the Panthers) are finding themselves on offense ... the Redskins planned to pressure Newton and were able to get four sacks, but they failed to contain Steve Smith, which is the other part of the equation. He had seven catches for 143 yards. Newton has a number of fine traits, but one of his best is his accuracy on the deep ball, which he displayed to Smith on Sunday.
"This team will continually improve throughout the season."
Story link: bit.ly/oA56GO