Panthers Mailbag: Cam more about wins

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
8:00
AM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The first round of cuts are more than a week away and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has yet to play in his first preseason game, so questions remain. I'm here to answer them for you. Let's get straight to my Saturday mailbag: @DNewtonESPN: Can't he test his left ankle in his first preseason game Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs before we talk either? Guess not. I think I get where you're going with this, and as Newton would say, "I'm not going there." Listen, Newton is all about winning. Going 6-10 and 7-9 in his first two seasons left a taste in his mouth he never wants to experience again. He understands you get more attention with victories than you do with losses. I'm not suggesting he wouldn't be thrilled by an MVP trophy, but given the choice I can say without doubt he would want to get to the Super Bowl and win. I'll go so far as to say he'd rather get to the Super Bowl and lose than get the MVP. Does that mean he doesn't have a big ego as you might have been hinting at in the question? Not at all. Few who play the game at a high level don't have a big ego. But losing humbles you, and Newton doesn't care to be humbled again. The best indication of that is he's not making a big deal about a new contract. He would rather the team spend money and effort to surround him with players that can help him win instead of breaking the bank and losing.

@DNewtonESPN: Well, they're off to a solid start with 2014 first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin. From what I've seen in training camp and his first preseason touchdown, he is going to be special. As the Panthers said when they drafted him, you can't coach 6-5, 240. Free-agent acquisitions Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant are 31, to they're stopgaps as the Nos. 2 and 3 receivers. But they're good stopgaps, particularly surrounded by Benjamin with tight ends Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson. What Carolina needs is a speed guy, somebody to stretch the field and run those quick underneath routes. They were hoping Tiquan Underwood would fill that role. He hasn't been consistent enough. Undrafted rookie wideout Philly Brown has shown potential, but he's a year or two away from being dependable. That guy could be a target for next year's draft or free agency.

@DNewtonESPN: I really don't see one as there were last year when the team signed safety Quintin Mikell and guard Travelle Wharton late in camp, and those were forced by injuries. The only position would be a punt returner/fifth-or-sixth receiver. Everything else appears set.

@DNewtonESPN: Certainly, but that is not the plan. Carolina likes the speed Charles Godfrey brings to the nickel corner spot, and the potential he has blitzing out of that. Now that could change if the turf toe that has kept strong safety Roman Harper out of practice for most of the preseason threatens to sideline him for regular-season games. Even then, the Panthers have a young player in Robert Lester they like.

@DNewtonESPN: I'm not convinced wide receiver Kealoha Pilares will make the roster simply as a kickoff returner. If he doesn't step it up as a receiver, I suspect he won't. That's why Philly Brown will get a good audition against Kansas City on punt and kickoff returns. He's shown flashes as a receiver. The Panthers need somebody with his speed who can stretch the field. They can spend time grooming him there if he proves worthy of returning kicks.

@DNewtonESPN: Sunday night's game will tell us a lot. As I mentioned above, Philly Brown is a player the team wants to check out. If he doesn't prove worthy, you very well could see that position filled by somebody on another team's roster. 

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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