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Cam Newton admits Panthers' 1-2 start has been 'frustrating'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Anybody who saw Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in his post-Super Bowl 50 news conference knows he hates losing.

So when asked on Wednesday what it has been like during a 1-2 start after losing only two of 19 games (including playoffs) all of last season, the NFL MVP didn’t hold back.

“Oh, it’s frustrating. It is frustrating,’’ Newton said. “But as one coach mentioned, just control the ripple effect. As he used the analogy, it’s like throwing a rock in the pond, making sure that first ripple is you. Take care of you, be the best you that you can possibly be, and obviously it’s going to affect others.

“So that’s what I’m trying to focus on, me taking care of what I’m supposed to, in the meeting rooms, on the practice fields, in the game. And then after that, everything else will take care of itself.’’

Newton hopes to turn his frustration into positive energy for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game at NFC South rival Atlanta, the only team to beat Carolina during the regular season a year ago.

That he’s from Atlanta makes this game even more meaningful.

“We’ve just got to stay consistent,’’ Newton said. “I kind of mentioned this to certain players. It’s not that we didn’t have any mistakes that happened last year, because we had a lot of mistakes.

“The fact that we were winning kind of blew it under the rug, so to speak. Now that we’re 1-2 it feels like we just can’t get into a rhythm of winning. A lot of things have been magnified, from the protection, to the errant throws, to everybody’s responsibility.’’

Inconsistency has been the story of Carolina’s – and Newton’s – first three games. The Panthers have surrendered 12 sacks, seven more than they did in the first three games a year ago. They have committed eight turnovers, six more than a year ago.

Newton already has five interceptions, three more than a year ago. He threw three interceptions and was sacked eight times in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota.

“It’s really going to come down to us,’’ Newton said of turning things around. “Just like this past game, it wasn’t anything that they did outside of us executing. We have to understand our role. We have to take the personal challenge to ourselves knowing we’ve got to be better.

“If we do that, nine times out of 10 we put ourselves in the best situation. Then it comes down to how good the individual is.’’

Newton will focus on himself. While he didn’t address how many of the eight sacks against Minnesota were on him – Pro Football Focus said three – he addressed how he could change that.

“Just pressure recognition and just getting the ball out of my hands,’’ Newton said. “That’s what it comes down to. But nevertheless we are optimistic about moving forward and ready to take on the challenge from Atlanta, a divisional opponent, so that counts for two.

“We’re trying to get to two wins as best as we can.’’