Cam Newton vs Josh Norman: Nothing to See Here?


Cam Newton and Josh Norman got into a scuffle yesterday where fortunately they both walked away unhurt. Today it became obvious that this could have been much worse.

Training camp violence has been with us all camp long. It also seems to be getting more coverage lately. First Dez Bryant took on some young defensive back in Dallas. Then the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans got in a scrum based on a running back running over rookie Wake Forest alum Kevin Johnson. The Panthers had their episode with Newton and Norman yesterday. Then the Jets witnessed one of their linebackers break quarterback Geno Smith’s jaw earlier today.

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The Smith incident highlights how strange the Panthers’ response to the Newton-Norman scuffle was. Coach Ron Rivera noted that everyone was playing hard to the finish of the play. Newton was chasing down Norman, who was returning an interception. Newton nearly got to him and then Norman stiff armed his quarterback in the helmet. That seemed to set Newton off.

Nor was Rivera concerned that this might have been an escalation of chirping between the starting quarterback and the number one cornerback. It reminded me of a criticism that Brandon Boykin leveled at Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly as he was traded to the Steelers. Boykin noted that players had to conform to Chip’s desires, that Kelly was not interested in letting the players be themselves. Rivera’s reaction to this whole situation has been the exact opposite. He’s letting Newton and Norman be who they are and then bringing the team together later to sort it out.

One luxury Rivera has with this approach is that Cam is comparable in size to a 3-4 outside linebacker (not the biggest ones like Jadaveon Clowney). Norman at 6’0” and not quite two hundred was not likely going to do anything permanent to Cam. The difference between Smith and his attacker looked much different.

The Panthers should breathe a sigh of relief and then be glad that there is a little fire on the field now. Let’s just not burn down the barn with it.

Next: Carolina Panthers Bracket: Rivera Region