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Insider

What's wrong with Cam Newton?

10/17/2012

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag on Wednesdays during the NFL season. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: Russell Wilson just had his best game as an NFL quarterback. Is there any way the Seattle Seahawks don't trade Matt Flynn now? What other QBs could be on the block?

-- Derrick (New Hampshire)

A: They're not going to be looking to deal Flynn, Derrick. For starters, what value would Flynn have to another team right now? Nobody would give up much for a quarterback whom any team could have signed last offseason without trade compensation. Plus, Seattle needs a backup quarterback just in case Wilson gets hurt. And Wilson plays a certain style, running around, that exposes him to being hit a bit more than other quarterbacks, so Seattle has to be careful. There aren't a lot of quarterbacks on the block right now; maybe Matt Moore in Miami. But what team is bringing in a quarterback at midseason other than a desperate team? And this year there isn't a Carson Palmer holding out, demanding a trade. The quarterback activity should be pretty quiet.

Q: What is wrong with Cam Newton this season? It seems like he has regressed. It is just his weapons on offense or have teams found out how to game plan against him?

-- Lew (Kansas)

A: Lew: The biggest thing might be that other defensive coaches around the league have had a year to study him and produce schemes for him. What Newton does no longer surprises them. They're now prepared for it, whereas last year they got caught off guard. Plus, it looks as though Newton is putting a lot of pressure on himself, letting things that shouldn't bother him affect him. It's not a great situation. Newton has been too up-and-down this season and has too much talent to be this average this year.

Q: Adam, who are likely candidates to replace Romeo Crennel? Romeo is a great coordinator but a poor head coach. The Kansas City Chiefs have too much talent to look as bad as they do. If the Chiefs finish 4-12 or 5-11, do you see a change at the GM spot as well?

-- Eric (Texas)

A: Already going there, Eric? If the Chiefs continue playing the way they are right now, there will be questions about the future everyone in the organization. General managers usually don't get to make this number of changes. GM Scott Pioli was there when Herm Edwards was let go, then when Todd Haley was let go and now you're firing Crennel, Eric. Let's just see how this plays out. There could be plenty of change in Kansas City. Clark Hunt will have to come up with the right man to lead the organization and leave his mark. But it's only mid-October -- a lot still can change. Shopping lists for head-coaching candidates really aren't put together until mid-November, before Thanksgiving. Let's hold off on this one until at least next month.

Q: The Washington Redskins were impressive in their win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Are they a legitimate contender in the NFC East? What are they missing (besides those injuries on D)?

-- Thomas (D.C.)

A: Those injuries on defense are a big deal, Thomas. This team would be tougher and stronger with Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, not to mention safeties Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson. That's a lot of lost defensive firepower. But maybe the biggest thing that they're missing is the ability to close out games. Think about how close they've been to beating the St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons. They had a real chance to win every one of those games and failed to make a play or two when they really needed it. This is a young team with a young offensive backfield that needs to make some key plays at crucial moments. It started to happen Sunday against Minnesota, and now Washington will hope to continue it Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, whom the Redskins beat twice last season.


Q: Adam, it seems like everyone has written off the New York Jets. Rex Ryan thinks they should win in New England. Do you think they have a chance?

-- Jared (New York)

A: Love this question, Jared. For the past couple of weeks, people have been roundly criticizing the Jets, wanting to fire half their organization, too. And yet they're going to Foxborough on Sunday with a chance to claim first place in the AFC East. They've been a rock-solid organization that has been hit with some tough injuries this season to key players such as Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. It's hard to see the Jets being a legitimate contender this season -- so much would have to go their way. But the one thing we see in this league every week is that anything is possible -- it's why we tune in.