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Mike Shula: Cam Newton must stay on an 'even plane'

Mike Shula knows the sky's the limit when it comes to Cam Newton's outrageous physical gifts under center.

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The Carolina Panthers' new offensive coordinator has little doubt about Newton's ability to take off in Year Three, but he would like to see more emotional growth from the quarterback when adversity strikes.

"Probably the biggest thing for him is maintaining that balance," Shula said, via The Associated Press. "Because everything around you during the football season is going to be up and down."

"The more you can continue to stay on an even plane and lead the group of guys around you, the more effective you are going to be as a quarterback."

That was, at times, an issue for Newton last season. For all his exuberance, Cam was prone to sideline moodiness, which led to criticism from receiver Steve Smith after Newton sulked on the bench in a 36-7 loss to the New York Giants on national TV.

Whether it's fair to pick apart Newton for his body language is another conversation. Steady emotions aren't a luxury for a franchise quarterback. That quality is expected.

Shula went out of his way to call Cam a joy to coach, but the Panthers would like to see Newton develop into a team captain and emotional anchor for a locker room anxious to follow his lead.

More than anything else, that's Newton's primary challenge heading into this critical third campaign.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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