Cam Newton and Drew Brees have both been very polarizing QBs in the NFL for many seasons. And let me be clear from the start – if neither of these guys were on their respective teams, both offenses would be almost anemic. Newton has been personally responsible for over 140 TDs since 2013, and Brees has put up a whopping 4800+ passing YDs for 6 of the last 7 seasons.
We’ll start by taking a good look at Cam Newton. We see a dynamic player, build like champion, at 6-5 and 250lbs – his physical presence is beyond awesome, and he is still only 28 years old. So because Drew is so much older than Cam, at the ripe old age of 38 – it could certainly be expected that Drew would be far ahead in the football smarts category, based on that experience. Some who are not a fan of the Panthers QB style – feel that Newton has been a very big disappointment. As he had so much potential, with his arm strength and quickness of foot – but one can look at his passing numbers, and say he’s been a little more low grade of mediocrity at the NFL QB level.
The Saints haven’t done much of anything over the last few seasons, even as great as Brees is. With just a meager 21 – 27 record over the last 3 seasons, coming into 2017. This year, Brees has shown the NFL his team’s resilient strength with a top ended 9-4 record, as of this article. Cam has helped his team go to 28-19-1 over the same 3 year timeframe, including a NFL best 15-1 record in 2015. Cam has also helped lead his Carolina team to a 9-4 record, as well, in the NFC South division, challenging the Saints. Newton had also ranked in the top 5 amongst RBs in rushing TDs with 10 back in 2015 – and was also sitting at tied for 2nd in the NFL in passing TD’s at 35. Putting him at an amazing 45 total TD’s. Those kind of production numbers cannot be ignored.
The rushing game from Newton has always been colossal to the Panthers season. A guy who historically gets them 40/game on the ground as well as 230/air is definitely hard to ignore. And, if we are being honest, Cam is an immediate dual threat on the field, and has been a freakish talent at the QB position. As a QB that oftentimes, gets himself enough rushing yards to rank him among RBs during the year. Which in itself, is pretty impressive as far as athletic ability goes.
The Panthers had put together the top highest scoring offense in the league back in 2015 – and he was the guy who was handling the ball on every offensive snap, which certainly tells me, Cam was essential to the teams massive scoring production. But, comparing some of Newton’s passing stats from his first 6 years to some very skilled QBs, who are generally considered to be future Hall of Famers – his numbers are simply far behind. Ben Roethlisberger had a 61% completion rate. Eli Manning put together 5 season of 21+ TD passes/season. Cam is behind as well, eclipsing 21+ passing TDs just three times, and just a 58% passer in that same timeframe.
Cam is a good mobile QB, but just like any other athlete who has some really exciting moments, too many people like to give them all the credit and overrate them. Instantly jumping on the bandwagon, putting them in a group of all time greats. Cam has been the exact opposite of what you want from an accurate passer – with his career 58% pct. As well as any scrambling QB that is getting his head smacked around every other play is not a good thing. And Newton has had his share of these issues.
I think he hit his peak. Denver exposed his flaws in the Super bowl, when he was just 18-41 and had pitiful 33.0 QBR. Unless he gets his progressions and his reads faster, he will continue to get crushed umpteen times during the games, as he holds onto the ball for way too long, and doesn’t throw it away when things fall apart.
Looking at Drew Brees, in his 17th season – one can question what he still brings to the Saints team? I can tell you, accuracy, smarts, and almost 5000 YDs/season. Drew has also always been a real class act & a great leader. The Saints need that calm, strong, veteran presence on the field with a younger squad with Michael Thomas and Willie Snead out there, taking the reins as his guys.
Brees and the Saints carried the 1st ranked passing offense in the NFL in 2016 and he has always been the most consistent QB in the division, hands down. In 2016 he completed 70% of his passing attempt, and put up 326/game – numbers that most of the NFL QBs would dream of hitting. Cam is dynamic on the field, but Brees can make all of the throws and has been just so effective as their leader on the field. This season Brees, as of this article, has been far better than Cam, with 3569 YDs and 19 TDs.
The fact that Brees has had to throw so much – including 42 attempts/game in 2016 – even when forced to chuck it around and not having much of a running game. Fortunately, for him this has recently changed as they now have some quality backs to hold it down. Brees is playing on a team that hasn’t always been able to play good defense, as their most recent 27th overall ranked D has shown. And that had put that much more pressure on him and the Saints offense. The Saints have worked on that as well, with a currently 11th ranked oppg in the NFL.
Also consider how many points the New Orleans defense had been giving up in their games – including 41, 45, and 35 to name a few. If you have to put up 30+ points to win, you’re not going to be winning a bunch of games, regardless of who you have at QB. Which is why the “rings” theory is asinine. If the Panthers were always playing from behind, and the opposing team knew they were going to be passing – Cam would be even worse. Brees had to constantly try and force things to happen, and take bigger chances due to the lack of defense they had had for several prior seasons.
We can agree that the QB position is the heart of a team. One who can take mediocre receivers and make them into even better guys, like Coby Fleener was, and Willie Snead is turning into with him. Cam is just not that type of player. Cam is doing well enough – but it seems we are always waiting to give him time to tell us how good he really is. Of course, throwing for a ton of yards does not mean everything. We all have our own ways to judge football talent. Nobody in the league, can spread it around, like Drew Brees can. It is always hard to rate him with a WR1, as Thomas may get 12 targets one game, and Snead could get the lions share the next. Brees is always spreading the ball across the field to whoever he has available to him.
Newton has an innate ability to make plays with the ball. Some, that have been exciting and spectacular to the eye, and he can move extremely well – but has struggled with his passing. This season Newton has been serviceable with 2720 passing yards and 17 TD passes, which are solid, but still his skills as a passer are limited.
If we are being truthful, consistency is the truest mark of a great player. Cam is the better athlete overall, with his ability to create plays and run the ball. But Brees is definable and more valuable to the Saints because of what is in his helmet. Maybe someday Cam can grow into his helmet.
Written by Mike Anthony for 10StarPicks.