A lot has been written about Cam Newton's development this offseason and his relative lack of weapons at wide receiver. We're more concerned about the team's change in offensive coordinator.
Rob Chudzinski was replaced by Mike Shula, who doesn't have a great track record of success at the NFL level. Newton sees the change as a positive. He told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday night that Shula, Newton's former quarterbacks coach, has a "better understanding" of Newton than Chudzinski did.
"If I don't like this play or feel comfortable, (Shula's) not going to call it," Newton said. "That's probably the most positive thing with us right now -- me and coach Shula me being on the same page going into the season."
Shula struggled coordinating an offense in Tampa in the late 1990s, and his run as head coach in Alabama didn't go much better. Newton easily is the most successful quarterback Shula has tutored as a pro. Newton is hoping that Shula's familiarity with the 2011 No. 1 overall draft pick will lead to success. But Newton knows the team is under pressure to win now.
"The time is now," Newton told Gil Brandt and Alex Marvez. "I think everybody knows that in this organization, from the janitor down to the head coach."
Here's what else we learned on Wednesday:
1. Oakland Raiders rookie tackle Menelik Watson finally practiced for the first time Wednesday ... and then hurt his calf 30 minutes later. Watson reportedly was very frustrated after the latest injury.
4. The New Orleans Saints lost two key players for the season Wednesday: defensive end Kenyon Coleman and wide receiver Joe Morgan. Coleman's absence should not be overlooked. We went over all the latest injuries on Wednesday's Around The League Podcast.
6. Signs are pointing toward Eddie Lacy as the leader in the clubhouse for the Green Bay Packers' starting running back job. We updated the top 25 NFC position battles Wednesday. The AFC got the treatment Tuesday.
8. We'll be back on Thursday night, recapping all six games of action. In the meantime, subscribe to the Around The League Podcast, won't you?