The Carolina Panthers are in deep trouble and most of it they brought on themselves.
A lack of discipline -- along with unrealistic expectations of being a Super Bowl contender -- has brought undue pressure on one of the worst teams in the NFL. Their general manager, Marty Hurney, was fired Monday after the latest loss to Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys 19 -14.
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Carolina quarterback Cam Newton is being blamed for the ouster because of his postgame comments. You only need a smidgen of football knowledge to realize that when Steve Smith, at 33, is the second best player on the Carolina team there is a problem.
The Newton bashers have failed to mention the Panthers, while under Hurney's direction since he took over in 2002, never had back-to-back winning seasons.
When a team is going through tough times, a defensive minded head coach like Ron Rivera will struggle a bit more. It looks like the second-year head coach may lose his job at the end of the season, because I can't imagine a new GM bringing him back.
Fame is so fleeting. Last year almost every Bears fan would have traded Jay Cutler for Newton.
This year no way. Cutler is playing great and if the Bears make the playoffs, they could go deep, maybe even to the big game.
Right now Newton is being criticized for his lack of maturity. With only one year under his belt, Newton might take a while to come around.
With the media and fans, Cutler, at times, has been treated the same way as Newton at times. When you are winning you can be a certain way and get away with it, but if you're losing or not putting up big numbers, your personal demeanor better be good.
I would guess Newton had maturity problems last season, but he was breaking rookie passing records and it didn't matter. Now Cutler is playing great and deserves plenty of credit, but their respective rosters can't be compared.
Here's my question for Bears fans. Whom would you rather have in a Bears uniform for the 2013 NFL season kickoff -- Newton or Cutler?
If there was a straight up trade between Carolina and the Bears, wouldn't Newton succeed with the Bears, who have a better organization and head coach with different difference makers on offense and a solid defense?
How would Cutler do playing for the unimpressive Carolina Panthers?
I think Cam Newton is a stud, but he needs some help. If you look at his stats, he wasn't that bad. He threw for over 200 yards and ran the ball for about 10 yards a carry.
Sophomore jinx? Maybe more like a bad team for sure.
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• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.