Pre-Camping with Dave Gettleman, Part 1: Cam Newton

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After spending most of his summer break in Massachusetts and New Jersey, Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman returned to work last week. Over the next five months, what he did — and didn’t do — with the roster this offseason will finally play out on the field.

Before he leaves for his third training camp stay in Spartanburg, I figured this would be a good place on the schedule for a checkpoint. So on Friday, we sat down to discuss a variety of topics. Instead of tossing everything into a long post, let’s try something different.

I’ve divided the interview into 10 posts. Five for Monday, five for Tuesday. Mostly quick hitters, hopefully, they’ll help make this week move faster for those of you eagerly anticipating Friday’s camp kickoff.

Cam Newton’s Offseason

There’s very little Cam Newton does off the field that doesn’t get questioned, and this month, the Panthers’ quarterback again made the major sin of leaving his house. At least twice.

Flag football would have bad enough for some, but before that, he flew all the way down to Australia. Then, he practiced with an Australian Rules Football team! You know, the guys that play like this:

funny gifs

But yeah, it’s not like Newton was running around without pads in danger of getting decked. He was pretty much just kicking the ball around. Of course, that didn’t stop the hand-wringing. None of it was done by Gettleman, though.

Rory McIlroy went out and played soccer and he couldn’t compete in the British Open. He’s on the shelf for a while,” Gettleman said. “You can’t put these guys in Bubble Wrap.”

But golf is an individual sport. If something happened to Newton, it would affect an entire organization.

“You just can’t put these guys in Bubble Wrap. They’re young guys,” Gettleman said. “You educate them. We constantly talk around here about putting yourself in the position to succeed, and they’ve got to make good decisions.”

“There isn’t a professional sports team that doesn’t have a guy doing something else.”

To be fair to those who questioned Newton’s extracurriculars, he’s not just a guy on a team. He’s the guy. One who was given a 5-year, $103.8 million extension. That was certainly the offseason’s biggest story, but Newton dropped what may become its most important nugget during an interview in June with WFNZ.Cam Newton vs. Seahawks, 2014 NFC Divisional Playoff

When asked to give a goal for the upcoming season, Newton revealed he wants to raise his completion percentage to 65-70 percent. That would be a substantial jump from his 59.5 percent career average. But maybe, just maybe, he’s ready to listen to coaches who have begged him to “take what the defense gives you.”

He’ll never stop being tempted by trying to make the big play, but the more efficient Newton is, the better the Panthers’ offense could be.

“Like anybody else, you grow in your job. He’s made progress every year, and he knows what he needs to do,” Gettleman said. “If that’s a goal of his, great, I’m thrilled.”

And is that one of your goals for him?

Gettleman smiled, chuckled and said:

“My goal is for him to help us win games. That’s my goal.”

Monday’s Pre-Camping with Dave Gettleman Posting Schedule

8 a.m. — Cam Newton’s Offseason

10 a.m. — Contracts

12 p.m. — Josh Norman

2 p.m. — Current Salary Cap Status

4 p.m. — 2016 Comp Picks

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