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Cowboys vs. Panthers: Cam Newton in sophomore slump

After a sensational rookie year, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has struggled in 2012, but NFL.com's Gil Brandt says that Newton may not be performing as badly as most people might think.

Brandt lays out six potential reasons for the Panthers signal-caller's struggles, the first of which is the team's implementation of a spread-based offensive system that is similar to what Newton ran when he starred at Auburn. He believes that the speed and skill of NFL defenses makes it very difficult to execute a college-style offense at this level.

With the Panthers off to a disappointing 1-4 start and Newton's numbers paling in comparison to what he posted last season, Brandt wonders if the quarterback has ever had to deal with failure of this magnitude before and whether that failure could be affecting his play. He also posits that Carolina's lack of a skilled blocking tight end has led to increased pressure on the young quarterback.

Kickoff for Sunday's game is scheduled noon CT at Bank of American Stadium and the game will be televised on FOX.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.