Blog Entry

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Posted on: December 24, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 1:43 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Slightly condensed version this week as it's the holidays. No podcast, no picture of the week and only eight questions. Blame Mrs. Brinson if you're so inclined. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter.

The Greatest Rookie Season Ever?

That's right. The greatest rookie season ever is precisely what Cam Newton's going to wrap up in Week 17 against the Saints a game of no real consequence when it comes to his legacy as the best rookie in NFL history.

There should be no argument that Cam's season, even without the final week, goes down as the greatest season by a rookie quarterback in history. He has the record for most passing yards in a season (again, with a week to go) by a rookie. He has the record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie. He has the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season by any quarterback.

Of the seven rookie quarterbacks with 3,000 passing yards, Newton doesn't have the most passing touchdowns, but he doesn't have the most interceptions either. There shouldn't be any question that his rookie year is the greatest by any quarterback.

As far as other rookies go, you could argue for Eric Dickerson (more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns in 1983), Dick Lane (14 interceptions, two pick sixes for Night Train in 1952), Randy Moss (17 touchdowns and 1,313 receiving yards in 1998) or Lawrence Taylor (9.5 sacks -- before they were even counted -- in 1981) if you want.

But none of those guys dealt with the complexities of running an offense. None of those guys dealt with a lockout-shortened offseason. None of those guys performed the way they did under the intense scrutiny of 2011 Twitteratiland. None of those guys carried the expectations of the No. 1 overall pick who was supposed to save a franchise ... or cost a GM his job simply because no one was sure how good they'd be. None of those guys inspired the fierce debate that Newton did leading up to being drafted.

Cam's rejuvenated a franchise that was dead in the water and he might be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL right now. It's been a marvel to watch him perform and it's insane to think that there was a debate as to whether or not the Panthers should take him.


Matthew Stafford: The Lions are in the playoffs. That's worthy of "winner inclusion" all by itself. But the Lions were secretly facing a pretty bad situation, with the white-hot Chargers and the very good Packers over the next two weeks. 9-7 and getting snuck out of the playoffs wasn't out of the question at all. Until Stafford got his surgical precision on and shredded the San Diego secondary, going 29 of 36 with 373 yards and three touchdowns. Stafford's next up for the "is he or isn't he elite" debate.

Pete Prisco
: Yes, my colleague and former life coach (Pete doesn't know it, but I fired him when he suggested I not wear socks with my loafers). Prisco's the only guy that I know of who refused to budge off his negative stance of Tebow during the Broncos winning streak. There might be an argument that Pete's stubborn and you might be inclined to call him a "hater" but with the way that Tebow egged on Saturday, there are going to be a LOT of people ripping him over the next week. And Prisco's the only one of those people who's stood his ground the whole time.

Kevin Kolb:
The Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday and that means Kolb avoided his worst possible nightmare. That would be "John Skelton marching Arizona to an improbable postseason run and the team deciding to bail on Kolb's albatross of a contract." Instead, Arizona now plays out the string and regroups for 2012, likely with Kolb as the starting quarterback for at least another year.

Matt Forte
: What's that, you say? Forte didn't play on Saturday. Oh, I know that. I also know that if the Vikings hadn't handed Adrian Peterson a monster contract before the 2011 season, things would be awkward right about now. Over the past month, the Bears have collapsed without Forte and Jay Cutler, meaning he's beefed up his leverage as an important player for the franchise and, with the Peterson injury, justified his rationale for wanting a new contract.

Jerome Simpson: Did you see his touchdown catch?

Turner's time might be up in San Diego. (US Presswire)


Norv Turner: A lot of credit goes to the Lions for the way they played on Saturday. Detroit is a very good team and a formidable opponent. But how can the Chargers not show up, especially knowing that the Broncos lost and that they were either a Bengals/Jets pair of losses or a Broncos loss in Week 17 away from making the playoffs? That's still not "controlling your own destiny" but out of everyone who was gifted an early Christmas present during the early games on Sunday, Turner and the Chargers were probably the luckiest. A 24-0 halftime deficit in the most critical game of the season isn't going to inspire any Spanos family members to keep their pink slips tucked away.

Jason Garrett
: No one's going to blame him for losing to Philly. That's what happens with Stephen McGee under center. But holy cow does Garrett have the hardest decision -- and the most scrutiny -- of his short career coming up over the next week. The Giants and Cowboys will play in Week 17, with a trip to the postseason and a division championship on the line. Tony Romo will almost certainly play, but will he be effective? Can Garrett gameplan in order to play to Romo's injury? Will he cough up a shot at the postseason? These are the ways we will judge him after next week's game. And by "we" I obviously mean "Jerry Jones and his potentially angry family."

Adrian Peterson
: AP's leg injury on Sunday was so brutal that I even feel like a jerk putting him in the "losers" section. But if you saw the horrific nature of Peterson's injury, you know precisely why he's not feeling like a winner right now. The Vikings announced after the game that it was a sprained knee but -- all due respect to Minnesota -- that's just not believable at all. The multiple reports that it's a torn ACL (and potentially worse) make a lot more sense. It's just sad that Peterson could miss significant time because he was playing in a meaningless game for a three-win team.

Rex Ryan: Ryan spent all week running his mouth about the New York-New York rivalry and when push came to shove, his guy Mark Sanchez fumbled on the Giants goal line and threw a "pass" to an offensive lineman that resulted in a safety in a devastating loss on Saturday. The Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie combo got torched by Victor Cruz (that's his name, right?) and Brandon Jacobs got to say "It's time to shut up, fat boy." That's just embarrassing. Oh, right, and the Jets lost control of their own destiny with respect to the playoffs. It wouldn't be nearly as mortifying if Ryan hadn't run his mouth all week.

Pipedreams: Just like San Diego, the Eagles were very much a longshot to make the playoffs. But I'm telling you, there was a chance. Then the Giants killed that chance (adding to their winner-y-ness) with a win over the Jets. That means Week 17 is no longer a dream scenario for fans of long shots, because both early-season favorites are now removed from any chance of a postseason berth. You don't have to root for the Eagles or Chargers. In fact, you can root against them. But if you don't like ridiculous storylines and clowning around with playoff predictors then we're not friends.

The Big Questions

The new Tebow narrative could be awkward. (AP)

1. What's the new Tim Tebow narrative?
No, but it's on life support (and Prisco wants to pull the plug!). Look, Tebow can still win against Kansas City in Week 17, or even lose as long as the Chargers beat the Raiders. But think about how quickly this narrative could be absolutely flipped on its head: if Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced, beats Tebow in Week 17 because Tebow can't win late, and the Raiders beat the Chargers and make the playoffs, the Broncos new narrative will be as chokers. No, really, it will. And that is nuts when you consider where we were just two weeks ago.

2. Why does Leslie Frazier keep playing guys who are hurt?
NO CLUE. But this is a story that's flown under the radar for the past few weeks and it culminated with AP's injury against Washington, as well as the concussion that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder suffered on Saturday. The Vikings are 3-12 after winning on Christmas Eve, but they didn't even need Peterson or Ponder to put up points -- it was all Joe Webb against the Redskins. Of course, winning, at this point, should be secondary. Frazier's top priority should be the health of his franchise quarterback and running back. Instead, these guys keep getting trotted out with injuries late in a lost season. That's not the sort of thing that keeps a job safe for long.

3. Did Raheem Morris get fired on Saturday?

Almost certainly. The Panthers went out and walloped Tampa Bay 48-16 in Charlotte, meaning that the Bucs lost their eighth game in a row.  Worse than the losses is the way they've happened: over the last four games, the Buccaneers have been outscored 158-64. They've given up 40 points to the Panthers and Jaguars and have topped 20 points just once since their trip to London in late October when things really started to unravel. It's an embarrassing collapse down the stretch and it's hard to blame the Glazer family and GM Mark Dominik when (not if) they fire Morris.

4. Anyone else getting fired?
Gotta think that Turner's done in San Diego now and that Romeo Crennel's the only interim hanging around. I can't buy that Jim Caldwell's saving his job so I'd add him to the list too. But I think any questions about Chan Gailey can now be reserved for a while, given the way he dismantled the Broncos on Sunday.

5.  Why should Tom Brady be worried?
Because his offensive lineman are dropping like flies. And while the Patriots are going to continue being good because that's what the Patriots do, there's absolutely cause for concern in New England if Logan Mankins and Matt Light are hurt for any length of time. As you may be aware, this isn't a team predicated on playing any sort of defense, and if they can't protect Tom Brady, there's little chance of them advancing in the postseason.

5. How mad are the 49ers?
Furious. And it doesn't matter that they won, because they gave up a rushing touchdown to Marshawn Lynch. They might hold the record for most games without one, but you know they wanted to make it the entire season. They did not.

6. Am I going to have to watch Matt Flynn on Christmas night?
Not as much as you might have feared. The 49ers won against the Seahawks on Saturday, and that means Green Bay hasn't clinched the top seed yet. Which means that Aaron Rodgers will stay in the game against the Bears for the entire game, barring an absolute Packers blowout.

7. Was Simpson's catch the play of the year?
Yup, it sure was. Maybe not the "play of the century" or anything insane like people are saying, but it was an absolutely bananas catch and it deserves incredible props. Watch -- it's going to be the type of thing you talk with your relatives about on Christmas. That's the way you can truly judge the greatness of a play.

8. Should Ben Roethlisberger play next week?
No. There's just no need. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice handled the Browns just fine in Week 16, and Charlie Batch/Rashard Mendenhall can do the same in Week 17. Rest the guy, run the ball, cross your fingers that Cincy can summon the strength to beat the Ravens on the road and let Roethlisberger rest.


I mean duh. Did you notice I liked it?

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Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 25, 2011 3:33 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Serphnx added this: "As Rush Limbaugh figured out before fleeing the sports scene, that doesn't cut it in sports because everyone gets access to the stats and games and you can't just pretend the results didn't happen. My wish for 2012 is you racists crawl back under the rocks you came from and I don't have to hear from you again, but I know of course you'll always be around, ready to shout your garbage whenever you think it's socially acceptable for you to do so."

Don't forget that OTHER racist Donovan McNabb-hater, Terrell Owens. Man, that dude's blackface make-up is best EVER! Puts me in mind of a cross between Al Jolson and Lon Chaney, Sr.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 25, 2011 3:23 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Serph, I can't answer for every white guy out there who said or wrote not nice things about Cam's likelihood of success as an NFL QB, but here's why I was among them. (1) Cam had 2 years at a JUCO and the 1 year at Auburn. One-year wonders, at ANY position, are notorious draft busts.Keep in mind that that was the biggest reason that Nick Fairley slid to Detroit at #13 this year. (I mean, nobody gives a rat's *ss if a DT rides the short bus, so it's not as if "the Man" was questioning whether or not he had "the necessities.") (2) All I got to see of Cam at Auburn was a couple of big games and a few highlights, so I had no preconceived notions as to his draft prospects. During the run-up to it, I was looking forward to seeing him take up a draft spot ahead of my Lions, in hopes that somebody useful to them was still there when their turn came. (3) Then, Cam went all brain-dead with his "idol and an entertainer" speech. Man, every fire bell and tornado siren in New York City went off in my head. Dude, he sounded like every self-centered airhead WR I've come to know and loathe. No way did I, or do I, believe that someone with the mental and emotional immaturity of a Terrell Owens or a Randy Moss could lead an NFL team to the Promised Land. One look at that spectacle and he was on my list of "not with a ten-foot pole" prospects. (4) A lot of other people saw in the fellow making that speech EXACTLY what I saw--and any number of them were former NFL players who are themselves black. (5) After the draft, he seemed to do an about-face. Nowhere to be seen was the idiot grin and seeming self-enrapturement of that speech. Where did it go? Did we all imagine it that day? Nah--watch the tape; he still comes off as a clueless clown. (6) Me, I saw the change and took him off my "Do not hire" list, but I confess to being still wary, wondering which was the REAL Cam Newton. Obviously, the Panthers got to meet the young man up close and personal in the weeks following his audition for "Dumb and Dumber 3: The Token," but I didn't, not did most people. Even then, I didn't get the sense that he'd convinced every draft room of his suitability. That's what happens when you put a foot wrong in the days preceding the draft; had the old rookie pay scale still been in force, I suspect that the Panthers might not have put $50 million on the line, memories of Jamarcus Russell, not to mention Ryan Leaf, still fresh in everyone's minds. (Nothing'll get an NFL GM fired faster than putting his owner on the hook for that much cheddar.) (7) So, still think we're all racists? Me, I still wonder from whence the idiot in the Cam Newton suit at that press conference came. Did somebody in his entourage, one of his "advisors", tell him that acting like Bron Bron or Dennis Rodman or Terrell Owens was the way to endorsement riches? For now, that's still my best guess. In any case, the lesson all you young folks should take away from "A Tale of an Entertainer and an Icon" is that YOU are unlikely to get the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th looks that Cam Newton got, because the only at stake for you in your first big job interview will be your own mostly anonymous future. Don't think that you can get away with playing "Fool for a Day" the way that he did.

Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2011 10:28 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

WOW,Serp you got some serious issues! Maybe you should seek some counseling-it might make ya feel better!!!!!!

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2011 9:41 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

It sounds like you are the only racist here??

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2011 8:08 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

The debate was because Cam Newton is black. A large, vocal portion of the population instantly decided he was too stupid to run a pro NFL offense, and led by red neck hick loser Jon Gruden they tried to mask their racism behind statistics and vague generalities. As Rush Limbaugh figured out before fleeing the sports scene, that doesn't cut it in sports because everyone gets access to the stats and games and you can't just pretend the results didn't happen.

My wish for 2012 is you racists crawl back under the rocks you came from and I don't have to hear from you again, but I know of course you'll always be around, ready to shout your garbage whenever you think it's socially acceptable for you to do so.

Hopefully now though the dumb sheep that ride along stop and think before they jump on the bandwagon. RGIII from what I've read is a great prospect, but of course he is black so we know at least some people will try to campaign on how stupid he is.

Stupid QBs can be of any race. Jeff George was a stupid QB, JeMarcus Russell was a stupid QB, and Mark Sanchez is a stupid QB. Don't just write off a QB because he is black.

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