Cam Newton had an awful performance on Monday night in Philadelphia, and with his play declining throughout the 2014 season, it begs the question: Is Newton following Rick Mirer’s career plateau?
For those who don’t know, Rick Mirer was a quarterback taken with the No.2 overall pick in the 1993 draft by Seattle. Although they had identical 2-14 records, New England got the first pick over Seattle based off a head-to-head win, and chose Drew Bledsoe. Mirer had been a star at Notre Dame, and the Hawks were more than happy to jump at the chance to take the Golden Domer.
In his first year, Mirer actually had quite a good rookie campaign, forced to play against the tough teams of the AFC West and the red-hot Houston Oilers later in the year. Mirer completed 56.4% of his passes for 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, and although he took 47 sacks, it was more due to a shaky offensive line.
In his second year, Mirer produced nearly identical stats, although he produced more touchdowns than interceptions. This raised some eyebrows as to whether or not Mirer was going to progress as a player properly.
1995 came along and immediately Mirer was figured out. Although he went 7-6 as a starter, he threw 20 interceptions and took 42 sacks. This was mainly due to Tom Flores’ incompetent decision to shorten the playbook for Mirer, but never expanding it once he got older.
Mirer was then mainly stripped of his starting duties, starting 9 games in 1996, going 2-7 while throwing 12 interceptions to only 5 touchdowns.
He then was sent on a trip throughout the league, making stops in Chicago, San Francisco, the Jets, and Oakland, before he retired in 2003.
So what does all of this have to do with Cam Newton?
Well, they’re not quite the same. Newton is wearing down in the same fashion and he was also a high draft pick (No.1 overall in 2011), but he’s had success, taking Carolina to the playoffs. His coach also didn’t butcher his playbook. But Newton seems to be mellowing out, however, and unless he really produces in these final 7 weeks, I’m going to officially write him off. The terrible, forced interceptions and the unbelievable amount of time he spends on the ground despite his famous “Superman” mobility (he was sacked 9 times in Philadelphia) leads me to believe that Newton’s success was short lived. I know the team lost a huge amount of talent to free agency, but come on, he’s Cam Newton. The man, the myth, the legend. If he’s as good as everyone says he is, and he lives up to the unnecessary amount of hype that surrounds him, he won’t be throwing only 1 touchdown every 3 games.
Carolina is a sinking ship, and will hopefully be able to build a better offense around him in 2015.