CHARLOTTE — Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said when it comes to comparing Cam Newton to Tim Tebow there is no comparison.
Smith said time will prove Newton is by far the better NFL quarterback.
"If Tebow is standing next to me I would tell it to his face — come check me out in five years, Jack, and you'll know who's the best quarterback," Smith said.
Newton is 4-9 as a starter, although he's put up incredible individual numbers. He has a chance to become the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and run for 500 in the same season. He already has 554 yards rushing and needs only 427 yards passing to reach 4,000.
Tebow is 6-1 as a starter this year for Denver with five impressive come-from-behind victories. But Smith believes Denver's defense isn't getting enough credit for the Broncos playoff push.
Smith said Newton's versatility makes him a better quarterback.
"Everybody wants to crown Tebow as a versatile quarterback," Smith said. "Versatile to me means you can throw the ball very accurately, run the ball and create things. The only he can create is running. He isn't very accurate."
Tebow has won more games than Newton this year, but that doesn't matter to Smith.
"You can't compare Cam to Tebow. I think Cam's a more complete player," Smith said. "Tebow has the wins. But everybody wants to crown Tebow. Yes, he has the will to win. I think Tebow is no different than any other professional (in that way). But Tebow has a great opportunity to play behind a great defense."
Denver has allowed the fourth-fewest points in the league; the injury-plagued Panthers defense ranks 22nd in points allowed.
Smith pointed to Tebow's statistics in the first three quarters of last Sunday's game against Chicago — he was 3 of 16 — as an example of his inaccurate arm and lack of accuracy in the passing game.
"That's not a versatile quarterback," Smith said.
Still, Tebow has been able to do what Newton hasn't — win games late.
The Panthers have led in 12 of 13 games this year, but have lost six contests when they've led in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, Tebow has five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter this year and six for his career.
In Denver, the fourth quarter has become known as "Tebow Time."
Panthers center Ryan Kalil said he doesn't see too many similarities between the two quarterbacks.
"They are two different players," Kalil said. "I don't know much about Tebow other than the highlights, but I think they're different. If I had to choose one it would be my guy. Everyone keeps tagging this thing that he's a winner, but it's not one man, it's a football team. I think they're playing good as a football team."
Kalil said Newton is a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback.
"I do," Kalil said. "He's young and he has a lot of room to grow. I think he's already shown he's pretty darn phenomenal."