Whatever Cam Newton does, good or bad, you’re probably going to hear about it. He gets a lot of praise, and he gets a lot of criticism, especially from fans and media. Sometimes, though, Bill Reiter wonders if the criticism is unfair or over the top.
“I don’t know. I think it’s been a story that’s been kind of the main storyline for a long time here, and I think a lot of us that have lived it have kind of grown numb to it,” Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said on Reiter Than You. “It seems like a storyline that’s just easy. It’s kind of the first question everybody has regarding Cam, but I think for the people that cover the team and speak to the guys on the team, people can’t say enough good things about him.”
In 2015, Cam Newton was named MVP and led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance. After a down 2016, he has Carolina once again in contention. The Panthers, who have won three in a row, are 7-3 and trail the Saints (8-2), who have won eight straight, by one game in the NFC South.
“Whatever the perception of him is around the league and elsewhere and outside of our market and outside of our game, it’s hard to control that,” Olsen said. “A lot of people just don’t really take the time to come down here and cover us and come to the locker room and talk to guys. They’re just kind of making assumptions and observations from a distance. Those people are going to have their thoughts, and we’re not overly concerned with that. But to the guys on this team, he’s been a great person, a great leader and obviously a great player since he got here seven years ago.”
Newton and Olsen have been one of the top quarterback-tight end combos in the league. Olsen had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-16, as well as 16 touchdowns during that stretch.
“Obviously he’s been great for my career,” Olsen said. “We’re probably at the top. If not, we’re pretty close. No one in the last couple years has been more productive as a pair than we have. We’ve had a good relationship on and off the field that’s led to a lot of production. We’ve had some good years, we’ve had some years where we’ve fallen short, but his play has always been kind of at the center of our success. You can’t say enough about what he’s brought to our team and to our market and to our organization. I think there’s a lot of people that have benefited from him being here.”
Olsen, who fractured his right foot in a Week 2 loss to the Bills, will return from IR this week and hopes to play against the Jets (4-6). Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.