I didn't watch a whole lot of college football last season. But, because Auburn was so good, I did get to see Cam Newton.
Forget about all the off-the-field drama, which does cast some concern about character.
But as a player, I was very, very impressed. There's the size and mobility. But what stood out to me -- unlike some other mobile college quarterbacks -- was his very solid throwing mechanics. I really wondered about Tim Tebow, for instance, not only with his delivery but his arm strength.
But Newton showcased an ability to make all sort of throws. And while he can run, it seems his inclination is to throw, something Michael Vick still doesn't seem to have a handle on.
Many wondered if Newton would live up to being the No. 1 pick.
But what's not debatable is how impressive he has been through three games. Ultimately, quarterbacks are judged on wins and losses. But it's hard to dispute what he did in Week 1, against the Arizona Cardinals. And then, against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Newton put on another show, although he wasn't nearly as clutch as he had been the week before.
The Packers were able to force some key turnovers, in part, because of their blitz from all angles defense.
I have to wonder if the Bears will have to deviate from the norm and mix in some blitzes, and take more risks. The challenge for a young quarterback is processing what a defense is trying to do. If the Bears rely mostly on their base Cover-Two scheme, Newton isn't going to have too much difficulty understanding what's in front of him.
That approach from the Bears would, once again, put a lot of pressure on the d-line to make plays.
Perhaps the Bears should throw in some linebacker blitzes. But the player I would like to see take a few runs at Newton is D.J. Moore. He's athletic, he's a solid tackler, and he's shown good discipline, thus far, when he's been asked to go after the quarterback.
As I mentioned earlier, though, Newton is a specimen, someone who is hard to take down.
"I think he will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. From just watching him, you have to be impressed," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "You see a big guy in the pocket and we know he has a strong arm. He has great mobility and agility in the pocket and he has been accurate. Feels like he's pretty comfortable playing in the NFL. Most of the excitement when you talk about their team is based on what he's doing.
"It'll be a challenge for our team. We don't play many teams who get off the bus and their quarterback looks like Julius Peppers. We're excited about that."