Photo above courtesy of Getty Images.


“The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.” – Robert Louis Stevenson


As the Holiday season quickly approaches, I want to give to credence to a man I have ripped thoroughly throughout his career.  Fellow writer Mike Procopio and I have shared the same opinion about the man Carolina Panthers fans call, ‘Superman.’

Cam Newton has been on the brunt side of many of my thoughts and comments since he, allegedly, had his father attempt to extort a quarter of a million dollars from the University of Mississippi before signing with Auburn University.  (Yes, I spelled out M-I-SS-I-SS-I-PP-I in my head when I wrote that.)

While I still maintain Cam as a below average passer at best, I am fully willing to accept I was wrong about his leadership qualities.  Newton has been nothing short of hair raising while leading the Panthers to a 10 – 0 start, the franchise’s best by 3 games already.  He gives every touchdown ball to a child in the stands.  His charity work has reached epic proportions.  His physical presence on the field is second to none and he is winning each and every game while his top pass catching weapon is a 30 year old tight end from Paterson, New Jersey.

I’ve had multiple arguments about Cam Newton.  Superbowl?  “No shot,” I’ve said.  Top 10 quarterback?  “Not even close.”  I’ll maintain my belief that he is not someone I would prefer in the pocket in a big game but, man, I would be remiss if I didn’t state that he reminded me of a modern day version of my childhood hero, Randall Cunningham.

Like Randall, he has a rocket arm.  Also, like Randall, I question his football intelligence.

Cam, in 2015, is backed by a ferocious defense, a sure-fire NFL Coach of the Year in Ron Rivera and a weekly offensive gameplan that allows for more rushes than any other team.  So, I’m drinkin’ the Kool-Aid and not just because Carolina is 10 – 0.  They are damn fun to watch and he has become a smiling personality for which I’m happy to root for.

Carolina invades Dallas on Thanksgiving which will surely be noted in my What 2 Watch 4 this week so, please, keep an eye out for it.  I’ll be rooting whole heartedly for an 11-0 Panthers start and will continue to look for this lightning rod of positivity to continue to light up fans in every NFL city.

Now, if he could only get a grip on that passing accuracy….


The Holidays are here, like them or not.  So, let’s check out YOUR WEEK 11 NFL Notes & Musings…


Last Thursday, Jacksonville won consecutive games for the first time in over two years and actually have a shot at winning the putrid AFC South.  Frankly, the Jags have some young cogs in right places and could be a team on the rise the next few years.


I said it while they were in college and I maintain it now… Jameis Winston is ten times the quarterback that Marcus Mariota is and will be at the pro level.


Since starting out 5 -0, the Atlanta Falcons have gone 1 -4 for a 6 – 4 overall record.  I still expect them to capture one of the NFC’s Wildcard spots.  They are too well coached.


What a nightmare of a season for Ravens fans.  Cant help but feel terrible for fellow Sea Isle City, NJ resident Joe Flacco after he tore both his ACL and MCL against the Rams.  Like a real trooper, he still hung in the game to win it for Baltimore.


The aforementioned Cam Newton’s 5 touchdown passes on Sunday against Washington were a career high.  The Panthers have run for 100 yards or more in 21 straight games.


The Washington Redskins have lost 9 straight games on the road.  The Skins’ 99 yard kickoff return for a score by Andre Roberts was the first allowed by Carolina in their last 100 games.


Can’t believe I’m about to write this but I call it like I see it and this coulds be quite be jarring…we may never see Peyton Manning start another NFL game.


The Houston Texans have won 3 games in a row for the first time since 2012.


The 7 game losing streak that Dallas snapped on Sunday in Miami was the franchise’s longest since 1989.


Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin’s 235 yards on the ground were a mere 2 yards short of Barry Sanders’ record of rushing yardage in a game without scoring a touchdown.  The Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston tied Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford’s rookie record of 5 touchdown passes in one game.  All 5 of Winston’s touchdown strikes went to different receivers.  Tampa also set a franchise record with 283 yards rushing against Philadelphia and the Bucs’ 521 total yards were second most in franchise history in the regular season.


After starting out 1 – 5, the Kansas City Chiefs have run off 4 straight wins to vault them back in to playoff contention.  They are the first team since the merger to do such and would be the second team (1970 Bengals) to make the post-season after starting 1 – 5, should they qualify.


Kansas City’s 346 pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe is the heaviest man in NFL history to score an offensive touchdown, per STATS.  Poe scored on a 1 yard run.


The San Diego Chargers have now lost 6 straight games.


Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson is the current NFL rushing leader over Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin by 65 yards.  That doesn’t sound like much of a gap but keep in mind that Martin turned in a 235 yard performance in Philly to climb that close.


With Marshawn Lynch possibly out for the season, Seattle rookie running back Thomas Rawls stepped up on Sunday for 209 yards on the ground against San Francisco.  Rawls joins Doug Martin and Adrian Peterson as the only running backs to break the 200 yard mark in 2015.  Rawls played his college ball at Central Michigan.


Really diggin’ this Arizona Cardinals squad.  In fact, if you read me last year, you know I’ve been on them for a while.  The rebirth of Carson Palmer and Chris Johnson, along with 3 levels of solid defensive players are all unwavering reasons.  Add in a field goal kicker that could drill one in Arizona by way of Cherokee High School in Marlton, NJ and a prolific coaching staff and you could have the only team able to challenge New England or Denver for the title.


Watching Buffalo’s Lesean McCoy this season, when healthy, I understand less and less how Eagles head coach Chip Kelly felt Shady was a bad fit for his system.  I’m still cloudy on the organization’s sudden convoluted ‘one cut’ requirement I had never heard before from anyone at NovaCare.


New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal on Monday for the first time in 358 days.


And finally, some thoughts on Cleveland quarterback John Manziel.  Firstly, I get that he is only 22 years old.  I don’t care.  When you are granted the privilege to play in the NFL and cash his level of paychecks, your responsibility skyrockets.  That’s part of the deal.

I also understand that last week was his bye week and he has every right to blow off steam.  But this is a young man with several years of documented substance abuse issues, including many weeks in rehab during the past offseason.  All that said, I have no issue with Manziel throwing a few back.  My actual issue is his level of douchebaggery on a cell phone camera which he knew was recording, acting like Justin Bieber in a public place.

Johnny, we all have our vices and moments.  Hell, when I was 22, well, I’d rather not say but I wasn’t a first round draft pick.  Do you really not have anyone that cares for you enough to keep you away from advert cell phone video cameras?

His talent level, frankly, isn’t close to the off field aggravation he precludes so, Cleveland, be done with him.  He doesn’t respect the game enough to keep him on the roster.  It’s time to permanently move on from Johnny Football.


My weekly WIP football show with Big Daddy Graham airs on Wednesday morning THIS WEEK ONLY on 94.1 Sportsradio WIP as we talk turkey and Eagles – Lions.


Thursday morning, check back here at for my What 2 Watch 4 as Week 12 is upon the NFL!


Follow me on Twitter:  @darrendegaetano

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Darren DeGaetano
A lifelong buddy of Voodoo Brown's, Darren was born in Philadelphia and resides with his family in South Jersey. His resume includes ten years producing sports radio in Philadelphia and five years as a writer, director and producer for NFL Films. His weekly NFL NOTES & MUSINGS column provides his thoughts, anecdotes and eye opening statistics that happened over the previous weekend. Additionally, every Friday, Darren offers his "What 2 Watch 4" column to set you up for the coming weekend football action. Darren's best known annual piece features his Darrentees, a collection of NFL bold and not so bold predictions for the season at hand. Finally, Darren is a full time NFL Insider for Philadelphia's Sportsradio 94.1 WIP and co-hosts the Thursday night / Friday morning overnight show with Big Daddy Graham and can be heard on the official Philadelphia Eagles post-game show. He also likes red wine. Lots and lots of red wine.