Football Team

How Cam Newton became the franchise QB for Ron Rivera

Football Team

It's become clear over the course of the 2020 NFL season that Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team are once again in the hunt for a franchise quarterback. Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen and Alex Smith all have auditioned, but age, inconsistencies and more all work against their case to be "the guy" in Washington.

So, if the future of the position isn't on the roster now, what exactly is the mold for a franchise quarterback? Well, that's actually a vague question because different coaches have different views on that definition. The correct question to ask is: What exactly is the mold for a franchise quarterback to Ron Rivera?

Washington's head coach answered that question on Wednesday, and for him, the best illustration of what he's looking for comes in the form of his time with Cam Newton in Carolina.

“Well, it’s like this—when I was in Carolina, we drafted Cam Newton and Cam started," Rivera said. "He started to grow and develop, and you started to get very comfortable that this was going to be the guy."

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The reason Rivera points to Newton is because of the growth the former No.1 overall pick consistently showed year after year. Each time he took the field and each season, Rivera saw a better version of the quarterback. That eventually blossomed into an MVP award and an appearance in the Super Bowl. 

 

"You just kept working with him, kept working with him, kept seeing his growth, kept seeing his growth, kept seeing his growth," Rivera said. "You saw him do the things that it took."

In each rep, piece of film and meeting with coordinators, that's what Rivera is looking for in Washington. He wants to see his quarterback improve in areas that they struggle and master the skills they've succeeded in. Progress on a daily basis is what can really tell him if he has a long-term solution under center.

What he wants is someone who will continue to get better, learn and grow, as Newton did. It's what gave him confidence in Carolina and it's what will give him confidence going forward in Washington. 

"I think, again, as we go forward with our quarterbacks, we have to see growth. We have to see improvement. We have to see consistency, in my opinion," Rivera said. "Again, I’m just looking back on trying to recall the things that drove us in that direction with Cam Newton. That’s probably the thing that I’m looking at more so than anything else."