CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton hasn’t sought out Hall of Fame quarterbacks or coaches on how to handle the career-worst slump he’s in. He hasn’t let the pressure the outside world puts on him to lead the Carolina Panthers to a victory for the first time in two months drag him down.
So how does he handle it?
“You just deal with it," Newton said matter-of-factly. “You realize rainy days don’t last."
But the rainy season has lasted longer than Newton or anybody else with the Panthers (3-8-1) imagined when they last won on Oct. 5 against Chicago.
“The situation is testing a lot of individuals, including myself," Newton said. “It’s not like you look forward to coming in and working and you play like crap. It’s nothing like being able to walk around town or just show your face and people are looking at you like, 'You’ve got to be better.'
"Hell, I know."
But instead of looking for others to relate to on his struggles or sulking about it, Newton is doing everything he can to get better as the Panthers prepare for Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
He’s staying after practice to work with the coaches. He’s not complaining about lingering effects from offseason ankle surgery or using that as an excuse for his poor play.
“The truth of the matter is we’ve got guys battling their tails off each and every game, each and every practice, playing hurt, playing through injuries and trying to find a way," Newton said. “It’s only but so much people can have patience. As a player, it’s only but so much you can have patience until the human element takes over and it’s like you start getting frustrated.
“That’s the thing that can’t happen. Frustration is not going to make things happen. It’s going to allow people to push the panic button."
Newton has been here before. He entered December with a 3-8 record during his first two seasons. He led Carolina to a 3-1 December record in 2011 and 4-1 mark in 2012.
For his career, Newton is 11-3 in December. According to ESPN Stats & Information, only the New England Patriots at 12-2 have a better December record from 2011-13.
So Newton understands what it’s like to turn things around late in a season. He knows he can help stop the rain that for him included a career-worst 35.7 completion percentage (10-for-28) in a 28-10 loss to New Orleans last month.
Some teammates have called Newton an inspiration for the way he’s fought through injuries and countless hits this season playing behind an injury-plagued offensive line.
Newton isn’t looking for praise.
“I don’t need my back scratched or my back patted on something that I’m supposed to do," said Newton, whose quarterback rating (78.9) is a career low. “It’s not like I’m supposed to give up. It’s not like I’m supposed to say, 'All right, guys. I’ve done got hit in the mouth three times. That’s the maximum you can get hit at the quarterback position in the NFL.'"
Newton knows only one thing can stop the pain and the rain.
“I’m more intrigued about how I can push the ball over to elevate my team to win football games rather than individual performances," he said. “Whether I’m hurt, whether I’m 100 percent or what have you, through hell or high water it’s to produce in ways that’s going to put this team in the best way to win football games."