Quotables: Cam Newton says Panthers WRs know they're considered the worst in the NFL

Ronald Martinez

Newton has taken offense to the criticisms of his new receivers and says his team is using it as motivation. Speaking of criticisms, Jaworski's back to slighting Johnny Football.

"You don’t have to go in there and tell those guys, 'Hey, you’re projected the sorriest receiver (group) in the NFL.' We already know."

- Cam Newton

Cam Newton has lost every wide receiver that caught a pass from him a season ago, and he realizes most of the league is looking down on his new-look Carolina Panthers wideout corps. He's tacking it up on the bulletin board to make sure his receivers know it, too.

"Those guys already have that fire in their eyes," he told the Charlotte Observer. "I would rather those guys be like that and for them to go out there and bust their tails like they've been doing. It's kind of like a slap in -- not only their face -- but my face as well. The things that have been said, the reports, who cares?"

Gone are Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Domenik Hixon and Ted Ginn, victims of free agency and a tight salary cap.

The Panthers made grabbing replacements a priority in the draft, snatching up Kelvin Benjamin with the No. 28 overall pick. The other key replacements have come through free agency: former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Tiquan Underwood, former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerricho Cotchery and former Philadelphia Eagle Jason Avant.

"Johnny just needs experience."

- Ron Jaworski on Johnny Manziel

ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski isn't backing down on his criticisms of Johnny Manziel anytime soon. After famously claiming he wouldn't take Manziel in the first three rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft, Jaworski said Wednesday that Manziel's lack of experience will prevent him from beating out Brian Hoyer as the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback.

"I think these guys need to mature mentally and physically with more college reps," Jaworski told Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com. "This is totally different. This is your life now. You compete against guys married and have kids and they compete like hell. The more experience you have I think the better chance you have of being successful at this level."

In fairness to Jaws, it's a reasonable argument, especially when you consider the Browns themselves have been adamant that Hoyer will be under center come Week 1.

"It's noticeable when you watch the offense when [Hoyer's] running it or any of the other quarterbacks. He's a veteran quarterback. The machinations at the line of scrimmage, the understanding, the command, the calling of the plays -- you can tell he's a veteran quarterback."

"I know I'm worth more than [that]. But I made my bed, so I got to lay in it."

- Jerome Simpson on his Vikings contract

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson set a career-high in receiving yards last season. But after re-signing with the club as a free agent this offseason, he's making roughly half of what he did in 2013.

That's because of his checkered past with the law. Simpson was arrested last November on suspicion of DWI and later pleaded guilty to two lesser charges. That came after he pleaded guilty in 2012 to mailing two pounds of marijuana to his home in Kentucky. A member of the Cincinnati Bengals at the time, he received a three-game suspension from the NFL for that incident.

As a result of his latest incident, he settled for a one-year, $1 million deal with the Vikings. He made $2.1 million last season.

"I can't lie. I was definitely surprised that I get paid less than what I got last year," Simpson told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday. "I had my best numbers. But I guess when you got that negative thing on you, they kind of got you behind the 8-ball."

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