Ryan Kalil promised a Panthers' Super Bowl victory this season, but if Carolina is to follow through on the center's bold prediction, Cam Newton likely will be largely responsible. And the second-year quarterback said Monday that he supports his teammate's confidence.
"Well, if anybody on this team, if they go out on a limb and make a statement, we have to back him up 110 percent, every single play," Newton said Monday on the NFL Network's "NFL AM" morning show. "We're out here trying to sharpen plays and work on technique. And we're just going to try to do our part. Each day and each play at a time."
After winning four of their last six games in 2011, the Panthers believe they have what it takes to make some noise this season. Kalil declared as much when he took out a full-page advertisement last week in the Charlotte Observer predicting the Panthers would win their first Lombardi Trophy.
Newton said Monday that he was unaware Kalil was going to place the ad.
"We just found out when the world found out," Newton said in the NFL Network interview. "But Kalil is a veteran in this league and has been doing his part for years and years. For him to go out on limb and say that, that means he has unbelievable trust in us, and I think that's building camaraderie around here."
Much of the optimism surrounding the Panthers focuses on the huge strides they made last season on offense behind Newton, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft.
Despite finishing 6-10, the Panthers went from last in the league in total offense, passing offense and points scored in 2011 to the fifth-highest scoring team in the NFL under Newton, who was selected as the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Newton isn't the only Panther to publicly support Kalil for the ad. The three-time Pro Bowler has received major support from several other teammates and coach Ron Rivera.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.