Less Cam Newton, more for Panthers?

Last offseason, we spent a lot of time talking about how Atlanta’s Matt Ryan had bulked up and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman had dropped more than 20 pounds.

This offseason, there’s another NFC South quarterback with a reshaped body. Carolina’s Cam Newton told the media Wednesday he has dropped 12 pounds since last season. Newton said he now weighs 243 pounds.

Newton said the coaching staff did not ask him to lose weight.

“It's just me challenging myself to have an edge going into the season,’’ Newton said.

I don’t think Newton was out of shape last season. But a little less weight might make him a little more mobile.

Newton’s body isn’t the only thing that’s smaller this offseason. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski left to become the head coach in Cleveland and quarterbacks coach Mike Shula was promoted. I’m not expecting major changes in Carolina’s offense, but Newton said Shula has simplified it.

“There was a lot of verbiage that was in the offense before, but I think Shula’s main focus has been to simplify things,’’ Newton said. “Call words that are just words rather than just minimizing the syllables of each and every play. When you know what you have to do, you execute.’’

So there’s less of Newton and less language in the playbook. But that could lead to the Panthers getting more out of Newton, which would be huge. If the Panthers are going to be playoff contenders, they need Newton to take some steps forward in his third season in the league.