My Around The League colleague Dan Hanzus might have said it best: Newton is the quarterback he'd pay money to watch. Cam's an X factor, and his career is just beginning.
Still, the Carolina Panthers quarterback has been knocked for his leadership. His go-to receiver, Steve Smith, chewed him out last season for moping during a nationally televised drubbing by the New York Giants. In that same contest, down by a hill of points, Newton capped off a late touchdown with his ill-timed "Superman" act. That display was a hotbed for criticism: It seemed out of place; it raised questions about Newton's ability to see the bigger picture.
Cam obviously wants to put those whispers to bed and pointed this week to his desire to be a team captain.
"I recognize -- and everyone knows around the league -- when you're a team captain, that's not just a patch on the jersey. You're holding yourself to a higher standard with being accountable," Newton said Thursday, per The Charlotte Observer. "I'm going about it each and every day and trying to make that happen."
It's not the patch that matters. Newton's chances to exhibit leadership are everywhere, part of every day, mostly in the moments we'll never see -- but his teammates will. His desire to grow in this area shows that he gets it, and that's a scary development for the 31 teams he doesn't play for.