Cam Newton’s passer rating is 78.4 which is 25th in the NFL behind EJ Manuel and in front of Matt Schaub. ESPN’s more extensive Total Quarterback Rating drops Newton to 28th behind Schaub and in front of Eli Manning.

Frustrated fans of the Carolina Panthers criticize Newton more harshly than they have since 2011 when broadcaster and former coach Jon Gruden asked Newton terminology questions he couldn’t answer during a televised Quarterback Camp segment.

To blame Newton for Carolina’s 1-3 record this season and 14-22 record during his two-season four-game tenure is a stretch.

But it’s fair to say that despite Newton’s speed size and arm strength he has yet to make his team competitive. It’s fair to say for the Panthers to improve Newton has to improve. It’s fair to say opponents might not worry when Carolina has the opportunity to mount a game-winning drive. But fans of the Panthers do.

This is Newton’s team. Quarterbacks have the ball more than anybody else and a greater effect on the outcome than anybody else. If a quarterback can’t lead he should find a new position or a new career.

No job in sports offers the attention adulation scrutiny and criticism that quarterback does.

When I walk through Charlotte Douglas International Airport I don’t see the face of Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly or defensive end Greg Hardy representing Carolina HealthCare System. I see Newton.

When I walk through Belk I don’t see a clothing line endorsed by receiver Steve Smith or center Ryan Kalil. I see Newton’s.

Newton is the first player the Panthers drafted No. 1. He was going to be their first franchise quarterback which means he was going to be elite. He’s not at least not yet. I don’t know if he gets there. But at 24 he still has the time and the talent to.

I talked about Newton’s critics critics who review game-tape to find flaws.

He also has supporters. Minnesota has more than 10000 lakes and his supporters believe he can walk on all of them. They blame a perceived lack of offensive talent for Newton’s travails.