Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs must stop more efficient Newton

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said his parents had to be creative for his Thanksgiving feast, which had to be turkey-free.

Newton, 24, challenged himself in March by becoming a pescetarian, giving up all meat and animal flesh except fish. He likes how it makes him feel, including increased energy and alertness, though acknowledged he has been tempted.

"When I go around the guys or I go around a particular place and they have chicken wings, they have prime rib, they have steak, it's just something for me to pinch myself and challenge myself," Newton said. "I can put my mind to a lot of different things as well."

Newton's improved discipline isn't limited to his diet. He also has streamlined his play on the field, a big reason why the Panthers (9-3) are the hottest team in the league, winners of seven straight, heading into Sunday's home game against the Bucs. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn has shown the ability to do it all. The athletic dual threat took the NFL by storm as a rookie in 2011, capping touchdowns with a Superman pose celebration.

But after Newton struggled last season, he stopped trying to do too much, started trusting his sidekicks more. He has been efficient and effective, taking what defenses give him instead of trying to take over the game.

"He still runs. He still does all the things that make him exciting," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "But he doesn't force passes. He's doing all the things that winning quarterbacks do."

Newton's numbers don't jump off the page: 18th in passing yards (2,353), 16th in passer rating (88.3) and tied for 10th in touchdown passes (17). But he has completed a career-high 61.7 percent of his passes and thrown just nine interceptions.

Newton is elusive as ever and can still beat teams with his feet. He averages 4.9 yards per rush and had 50 yards and a touchdown in a 31-13 win over the Bucs on Oct. 24.

"He's really bought into being a true pocket passer," Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said. "And he's more than talented to do anything offensively."

With the ninth-best running game in the league and third-best overall defense, Newton says the Panthers have bought into a "we" rather than "me" mentality.

"Obviously, over time, a player, a person, a human being will change their ways or upgrade to a degree. And I think that's what I've done," Newton said. "Coming in and having a different approach, and it's been showing come game day. But as far as me changing as a whole player, person, nothing's really changed. I still have the same aggressive mentality but also take what the defense gives me."

Newton set the bar high in winning the 2011 offensive rookie of the year award. He set an NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (14) and became the first player to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 500. Carolina coach Ron Rivera said that created "unfair expectations," and Newton didn't handle them well, though it wasn't all his fault.

Still, after Carolina started 1-6 last season, Newton received much of the blame, even criticized — including by teammates — for his body language on the sideline.

Rivera said Newton learned to cope with it, matured and deve­loped. A winner in junior college and a BCS national champion with Auburn, Newton has now won 15 of his past 21 starts.

"Some people expect it to happen overnight, and that's not true," said Rivera, whose team won its final four games last season to finish 7-9. "Everyone is going through a developmental process. Last year, everyone was talking about (Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III). Now everybody's saying, 'Well, look at him now.' It takes time. Our guy took a little bit of time.

"Now look at him."

Comments
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Published: 06/19/18
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18