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Cam Newton says he was a bad teammate last year

Cam Newton

Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton acknowledges the crowd after being introduced prior to the annual spring A-Day game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, April 14, 2012. Newton feels like his improvement going into Year 2 as an NFL quarterback “is through the roof.” (AP Photo/Dave Martin)


The biggest debate about Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in recent days has had to do with whether or not he padded his stats by throwing the ball a lot at the end of losses.

Newton hasn’t weighed in on that topic, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t wielding a critical eye when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. The difference between him and Alex Smith is that he’s looking in the mirror when it comes time to level that criticism.

Newton spoke to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports about what he needs to do better in his second NFL season. It had nothing to do with throwing for more yards in the first halves of games, something that wouldn’t actually represent much of a change. Newton thinks he needs to be better about letting go when mistakes happen and that he needs to find a new way to interact with his teammates.

“I was very immature,” Newton said. “I’ll be the first one to tell you, the pouting and the moping, I kind of overdid it. I know that. I was a bad teammate. I shut off to some people who gave unbelievable effort. … That’s where I have to mature.”

Wide receiver Steve Smith, who has had a hard time being the best of teammates in the past, thought Newton was being a bit too hard on himself, but did see places where Newton’s approach could improve. To Smith, Newton tries to put too much on his own shoulders and, going forward, he needs to trust his teammates to make plays more often. That should be easier after a full offseason of working together, although its still a safe bet that Newton will retain his starring role on the Carolina offense.