Two Way Street: Editors Aleck Ryner and Brian Friel talk Cam Newton and Pablo Sandoval’s weight loss

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Jose Carlos Fajardo/MCT

Pablo Sandoval sends one flying. If he loses another 20 pounds of fat, he can do this more often.

Aleck Ryner and Brian Friel

“Half the editor, twice the emotion”

Cam Newton: Boom or Bust?

Aleck: I am confident that Cam Newton will become a star in the NFL. Lately people have been bashing him left and right with concerns over his accuracy, character, ability to run an NFL offense and even for being a one hit wonder. A few analysts have even suggested he shouldn’t go in the first round of the draft. However, I disagree with most, if not all of the points being made.

Last year at Auburn, Newton completed 66% of his passes and had a quarterback rating of 182.05, the highest in college football, and nearly a record. Jake Locker had completed 55% of his passes and Blaine Gabbert, considered by most to be the best quarterback in the draft, completed 63% of his passes. I know Newton had a subpar combine performance, but I will take his on-field performance over that.
Newton may be a little cocky, but nobody should mistake him for Jamarcus Russell. Both played in the SEC but the similarities stop there. Newton is in outstanding physical shape and running is part of his repertoire, while Russell on the other hand was just out of shape and lazy. You don’t get to where Newton is with Russell’s attitude. There is certainly a possibility Newton will be a bust, but I think the risk is worth it.

Brian: Make no mistake, at a chiseled 6’5”, 250 lbs, Cam Newton is the most impressive physical specimen to ever grace the quarterback position. No one questions his arm strength, as it is clear that Newton can make every throw necessary to play in the NFL. The question, however, is how consistently he will be able to make these throws.

Newton’s 66% pass completion rate is deceiving as he was often running the equivalent of a playground offense: If his primary receiver wasn’t open he’d just tuck the ball and run. That works in college when you’re bigger than everyone and can run over whomever you please. In the NFL, however, such a playing style will literally get you killed.

Newton must be able to dissect coverages and go through his entire progression, something that he clearly had trouble doing against Oregon in the national title game. By making him play real quarterback for once, Oregon flummoxed Newton to the point where he was barely a factor. Just wait until NFL defensive coordinators start game planning for him. Newton = Bust.

Pablo Sandoval: Bounce Back Year?

Aleck: Ever since the Giants won it all, the web has been overflowing with articles about why the Giants won’t repeat, but there is one thing that most of them are overlooking, Pablo Sandoval. After a breakout 2009 campaign, everyone thought Sandoval was destined for stardom, but the Kung Fu Panda could not control his weight and he ballooned to about 280 lbs, fine for someone 6’11”, but not 5’11”. His defense suffered, his offense suffered and by the time the Giants had reached the World Series, Sandoval was benched to make room for World Series hero Edgar Renteria.

But low and behold, spring training 2011 rolls around and Sandoval is back to looking like the Sandoval of old. If spring training is any indication (it definitely is not always), then Sandoval could be primed for a big year. And with a lineup of Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff, Sandoval and possibly star prospect Brandon Belt, the Giants could actually have a big boost in their offensive production this year.

Brian: With the miracle post-seasons of Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe now a thing of the past, the Giants are banking on a 38 lb-lighter Pablo Sandoval reignite an otherwise spotty offense. Thankfully, as proven by the transitive property, Sandoval’s massive weight loss will provide the Giants with the missing piece to their world series-repeat puzzle: Sandoval’s improved weight = improved movement = improved defense = less errors = better attitude = more confidence at the plate = a return his former days of hacking his way to a solid .300/.345/.475 season. With his much improved diet, look for the panda’s bounce-back year to spark the offensive firepower needed for another glorious post-season of Giants torture.