What we learned about the Panthers, Cam Newton after game 1 against the Rams
If you watch the aftermath of a Carolina Panthers offensive touchdown Thursday night against Tampa Bay, you may ask yourself this question:
What in the world are those quarterbacks doing?
The touchdowns in Carolina’s first game Sunday opened the door to an elaborate dance between quarterbacks Cam Newton, Kyle Allen and Will Grier — one that involved some shimmying, some shaking, some sort of mimicked basketball running jump shot (which was old) and a couple of hands-on-your-head pelvic thrusts while facing each other (new).
Grier, although not in uniform since he was the third quarterback, seemed to particularly get into it.
“It’s just a display of some joy and emotion and passion that we put together,” Grier said in an interview, “and I think Cam was the originator of it. It doesn’t have a name and I think it will continue to grow. It’s a fluid thing. We will continue to do it throughout the season. And hopefully, we are doing it a whole lot.”
The celebration will be modified occasionally, the quarterbacks said. (If you don’t know what celebration I’m writing about, you probably watched the game on TV. Fox Sports didn’t show it at all during the game.
“We’ve got to change it up,” Allen said of the QB celebrations, which he also participated in last year when they were not quite as extensive. “The times are changing, man. You’ve got to bring the people what they want, you know what I mean? People get tired of the old thing.”
Newton, who has given a nickname for practically all of his teammates, has still not named whatever this new celebration is. It begins on the sideline after Newton has generally directed the giveaway of whatever ball the Panthers scored the touchdown with, and it ends whenever No. 1 says it is over.
“It’s a lot of enthusiastic motions that are hard to describe until you see it,” Newton said. “Then it just makes you feel good, you know what I’m saying?”
As for what’s in store for the Tampa Bay game — assuming Carolina scores some offensive touchdowns in this Thursday night game — Grier said he’s not quite sure.
“We’re kind of waiting on updates,” Grier said, nodding toward Newton’s locker as the place from which all updates will come.
Newton wouldn’t say exactly what was coming next, but said Carolina fans would do well to keep an eye on the QBs after a score.
“Pay attention,” he said.
▪ BIG-TIME BATTLE: Watch the matchup Thursday between Carolina cornerback James Bradberry and Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans. It is always worth the price of admission. The two have been going at each other for years now, and respect each other enough that they once exchanged jerseys after a game.
▪ C’MON MAN: Does anyone believe this is really just another game for Carolina defensive tackle Gerald McCoy? He’s smart to try to downplay the significance. But if you worked somewhere for nine years and then they decided you weren’t good enough to get paid your salary anymore and let you go, how would you feel the first time you saw that employer again?
▪ HEAVE IT DEEP: If I were Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, I would have Cam Newton throw one deep sometime in the first quarter. Doesn’t matter if it’s complete or not. Just do it. Show that it’s possible.
▪ IT’S JUST A FANTASY: Newton’s line about Christian McCaffrey getting all the goal-line work and fantasy football this week was funny enough to bear repeating in full: “Doggone, Norv done picked C-Mac for fantasy, man! I should have went over and seen who he was drafting in his league. That’s probably why we ain’t doing no deep passes, right? Cause he ain’t picked me for his quarterback! Now it’s all making sense.”
▪ PREDICTION TIME: For the L.A. Rams game Sunday, I picked Carolina to lose in this space, 30-22. The Panthers lost, 30-27.
This time I’m smelling a Panthers victory. And let’s be honest — if a relatively healthy Carolina team can’t beat Tampa Bay at home, it’s going to be a long season. My pick: Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 23.