Moving right along.
How to improve on a rookie year in which he threw for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns, and ran for 706 yards and 14 scores? It goes back to the pre-draft criticism of Newton -- becoming fundamentally better under center and as a traditional quarterback. That's not to say Rivera and Co. are going to try and turn Newton into Dan Marino. They won't. The idea is to make him even more diverse as a player.
"Probably the biggest thing with him is technique, both throwing on the move and taking the snap from under center," Rivera said. "Evaluating from last year, I'd say we see where we want him to work on his footwork, going under center, planting and stepping into his throws. He just needs to be more consistent with it. Those things are big."
A month into that work, the quarterback's eating it up, according to his coaches.
"The offensive coaches evaluated all his strengths and weaknesses, the things he needs to do physically as a quarterback to get better," Rivera continued. "I can tell you, he's working it. You watch the individual periods he's doing, those techniques he's trying to improve, it's impressive. And he wants to learn more of this offense. We watch the amount we're teaching, because he's doing so much to get better. It's interesting watching. He's a bright kid, and he's constantly hungry for more, which is nice."
Can't help but get a little excited about the possibilities. Call me a homer or dreamer if you want, but I can just feel the energy from Rivera's comments coming off the page.