Don't overlook Cam Newton

The good thing for Carolina is that Newton realizes he doesn't have to be Superman to make positive things happen for this franchise. He can settle into a nice comfort zone, one that will allow him to mature at his own pace and with a clear understanding of the realistic expectations that should be set upon him. It's also a safe bet that the Panthers have seen enough to start talking about a long-term extension this offseason. The odds of Newton taking a step back after his recent success don't seem so high when considering how far he's come.

In fact, it's fair to wonder how Newton looks at somebody like Griffin, who's going through his own ups and downs in Washington after amazing people with his skills during his first season. Some think Griffin's knee injury never allowed him to take the next step in his development, but there are just as many who now see him as arrogant and high-maintenance. Newton could've let his own career veer into a realm where a tarnished image and constant controversy interfered with his development. Instead, he's elevated his game to another level -- one that deserves its own distinct recognition as he takes his place alongside all the other talented quarterbacks playing this weekend.

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