Seahawks Insider

Rivera says Newton playing with more freedom in simplified offense

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm with 33 Comments »
September 4, 2013 1:33 pm
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks with  Cam Newton (1) before an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks with Cam Newton (1) before an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

After struggling in the first half of 2012, Carolina’s Cam Newton compiled a 94.7 passer rating in the last nine games, completing 143 of 240 passes (59.6 percent) for 1,920 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.

He also rushed for 397 yards and five touchdowns. The Panthers finished 5-4 in those contests, including winning five of the last six games of the season to finish 7-9.

According to Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, the Panthers got back to basics, simplifying the offense so Newton could play with more freedom.

“We took a lot of things out of our offense,” Rivera said. “We said that we needed to simplify certain things, take some things out of his hands. We need to take some decision-making processes out of his hands at times, and let him just wing it. And he really seemed to play a lot more loose, a lot more natural.”

Rivera also mentioned that other players around Newton stepped up, including receiver Brandon LaFell, tight end Greg Olson and running back DeAngelo Williams.

Veteran receiver Steve Smith added another element to it, saying that former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski was using Carolina to audition for a head coaching job.

“It was really a power move of the prior offensive coordinator really positioning himself to kind of show, ‘Hey, I’m capable.’” Smith said. “And I really feel like it was applying for that head coaching job, and I think our offense kind of suffered a little bit because of that. At times we got cute, and we did things that necessarily wasn’t us.”

Chudzinski ultimately got his wish, landing the head coaching job with Cleveland.

Rivera also discussed the challenge that Seattle’s talented secondary presents for opposing offenses.

“The big thing really is the vertical game,” Rivera said. “A lot of people try and get vertical on them, and then those guys are very physical, get their hands on you. And if they do that, they can run with you.

“You’ve got to be able to get separation and be able to make good, crisp cuts. I think also a part of it is because of their front seven, it’s difficult to run the football. They play so much man (coverage), and they play such physical football at the point of attack, that if you’re not running it effectively and allowing them to dictate, they are a tough team to score on.”

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  1. yankinta says:

    Wow, those numbers from the second half 2012, are impressive!! I hope we can contain him with our Speed and Toughness….

  2. Greg Olson is a very good TE. The Bears were MORONS to trade him–thats what they get for hiring Mad Mike Martz. Now they have neither Martz nor Olson…but a great pickup for Carolina.

    Quinn intends to put the LB’s in more one-on-one match-ups covering TE’s, this will be a good test. I expect us to get burned a few times. Carolina will also be tough to run against–a good warm-up for the Niners game week two. If we can get Lynch 100 yards vs Carolina, I will be ecstatic (provided we win, of course).

    Still think we’re gonna have to get the ball to the WR’s A LOT to win this one. Screens and runs arent gonna cut it–their secondary is the weakest link, their backers and line are pretty darn good.

    Im looking forward to Quinn’s D coming out in press cvrg with blitzes–none of the sit back and wait running a base D till were down by 10 points, play Browner off-man or off-zone giving a 10 yard cushion crap we saw from Bradley all too often (Miami, Detroit, etc).

  3. ✔ @Percy_Harvin

    What’s goin 12th man just checkn in …I’m making serious progress …keep an eye on week 7…don’t hang them 11′s up…..we workn

    12:50 PM – 4 Sep 2013

  4. wazzulander says:

    Thanks LVH, week 7 would be incredible!

  5. CDHawkFan says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen a coach take a shot like that at someone 6 months removed from his own staff.

  6. MoSeahawk12 says:

    Wasn’t the coach it was Steve Smith WR.

  7. Hawkjitsu says:

    Yup CDHawk. He straight sandbagged Chudzinski, then Smith just straight BLAMED him for the struggles. I know Cam has ultra mad skills…but he’s the FOCUS. I’m not scared of DeAngelo, not scared of the old man Smith, and definitely not scared of there secondary. The only tough spot, besides Cam, is they’re D front 7. Coleman is going to sink or swim while blocking for Beast, and as long as our O-line is servicable, we should OBLITERATE.

    Oh yeah…..GOOOOOOOOOOOO HAWKS!!!! And Har-bra wearing trannie boy can go scowl at some a$$ pounding apocalypse that we shall unleash on Carolina, sobbing to the realization that Kaper$h1t will have his vertebrae shattered on week 2. I’m gonna laugh. Anybody else hurt, then I’m on my knees praying that they are ok….but Craperdick can slowly asphyxiate on his own spinal fluid…..I’m having a strange day.

  8. Rockyseahawk says:

    A player said that about Chudzinski.

  9. yankinta says:

    nvm, those last 6 games (5-1) were against weak opponents,, and still lost to the Chiefs…. I guess I’m not that worried about Cam anymore for this Sunday…

  10. CDHawkFan says:

    Good eye Rockey, my bad.

  11. SandpointHawk says:

    According to Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, the Panthers got back to basics, simplifying the offense so Newton could play with more freedom.

    “We took a lot of things out of our offense,” Rivera said. “We said that we needed to simplify certain things, take some things out of his hands. We need to take some decision-making processes out of his hands at times, and let him just wing it. And he really seemed to play a lot more loose, a lot more natural.”

    So your saying Cam’s an idiot who doesn’t understand the pro game?

  12. Dukeshire says:

    Anytime I read about a coach “simplifying” a scheme for a key player, on either side of the ball, I interpret that as code for “we’re growing concerned and desperate as an organization/staff”. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I can think of several examples where that has proven to be spot on.

  13. raymaines says:

    Steve Smith said “At times we got cute, and we did things that necessarily wasn’t us.” Odd phrasing, but we get his point.

    Things like, you know, thinking or memorizing a playbook, or going through your assignment check downs. Cute stuff like that. Running around playground style is more fun.

    I think as long as the Seahawks D plays solid assignment football they’ll do OK. I’m anxious to see how long it takes Cam Newton to break down and start running instead of looking for open receivers.

  14. yankinta says:

    LVHawk, Thanks for the update!!! Great News!!. I’ve always said he’ll be back by November, but people keep telling me I don’t know anything, I’m not a doctor…. lol, I’m just making that prediction based on how players came back from injury, recently…. I guess, those people will be quiet late Oct and disappear in Nov when Harvin does come back to play against the Buccaneers!! :)

  15. Dukeshire–I hear you, but sometimes it isnt a bad thing (simplification). Norv Turner and his 700-page playbook come to mind. There is such a thing as information overload, and sometimes you gotta let your guys man up and play, see who has the biggest nards one on one. Carrol loves to do that, and if used sparingly, can work wonders.

    I think the key to being a good football team is to never stop innovating, whether its trying to outsmart someone, or just trying to create favorable matchups, or if its noticing that things have gotten too complicated, and paring them back a little.

    It remains to be seen if Newton and company can become a really fine team–they have a good start, talent-wise. LaFell is pretty good, and Smith still had it last year. They have Tolbert and Williams, even if Stewart is hurt, and a talented qb and a great D-line and backers….

    Like I said, their secondary is weak and we should exploit it. Hope for no injuries.

  16. Who knows? Maybe Chud was getting cute and designing plays to make himself look like a brainiac. Though fancy plays that dont get you wins generally dont get you hired as a HC.

    Im sure he got a little carried away. That would be a case of not tailoring your offense to fit the players. Also, Smith is a total jackass and a very selfish player; I tend to not pay much attention to what comes out of his mouth. He’s a d-bag.

  17. On Harvin, we shall see. Im not holding my breath. Im honestly far more excited to watch Baldwin, Kearse, and Williams.

  18. RDPoulsbo says:

    I wonder if Steve Smith is thinking about taking another cheap shot at Sherman on Sunday.

  19. I’m not worried about when Harvin comes back. I’d like him for the playoffs of course. At this point, there are not enough footballs to go around between Marshawn, Miller, Rice, Tate, Willson… I don’t even see how Kearse is going to get on the field except at KR. We don’t need another receiver right now.

    OLB and DE, that’s where my concerns are until Irvin and Avril and Clem are all back.

  20. didn’t realize they won 5 of their last 6, included wins over Atlanta and NO. nothing to sneeze at. I agree this is a dangerous game for us.

    I do think this team will be playing with purpose all year, knowing they’ve got a shot at winning it all. It’s a good early road test.

  21. Road openers are tough for any team.
    2005 season opener 14-26 Loss at Jacksonville.
    2006 season opener 9-6 Win at Detroit.
    And those were good Seahawks teams.

    I want to win the opener, but the home opener against SF is much more important to me, and to the division record. If we can get through the first four games at least 2-2, and get Irvin back and Clem healthy by game 5, we should be fine. If we start better than 2-2, look out.

  22. yankinta says:

    lol, if you don’t think Harvin is the best WR on this team then I don’t know what to say… smh…

    The dude was MVP candidate before he got hurt. He never drops any catches and runs a 4.35 flat!! He can make us that much better!! I just all I can say is you’all should watch and learn on what he brings us,, cuz I already know!….

  23. mocarob says:

    RD, I don’t remember a cheap shot on Sherm. How did it happen?

    I hope BB or Kam get a chance to plant a little baby blue flower named Smith in the Carolina turf Sunday.

  24. Dukeshire says:

    As soon as he sees the field, presuming he does, then we can have that discussion. We all know he’s a freak athlete.

  25. Southendzone says:

    I like the tweet from Harvin. At this point I’m questioning his motivation to be a major factor on the team, so assuming he is coming from his true feelings with that, makes me hopeful.

    Or maybe his agent or the Hawks just told him to say that because fans like me think he was a huge mistake right at this point.

  26. Clemons did NOT practice today. Man, I sure hope they dont push him. He’s more than a month ahead of schedule, no need to risk him…

  27. I think Harvin wants to be here, in Seattle, playing and competing for a championship. He’s never seemed to be a guy who wouldnt play hard, just a guy who wants the ball a lot. A guy who wants everyone around him giving 100% and performing at a high level too.

    Is he tough? I dont know. Is he worth what we’re paying him (cap space)? I dont know that either; time will tell.

    He’s struggled with various injuries, and he’s not shown me he’s a do-everything number one WR. He’s a finicky little european race car that may or may not crap out before the championship race…

  28. freedom_X says:

    There’s no point in creating cutesy trick plays to land a head coaching job, *if they don’t work.* That’s the flaw in that conspiracy theory.

  29. “I think Harvin wants to be here, in Seattle, playing and competing for a championship. He’s never seemed to be a guy who wouldnt play hard, just a guy who wants the ball a lot. A guy who wants everyone around him giving 100% and performing at a high level too.”

    I totally agree, STTBM. Multiple players have praised his work ethic and competitiveness. All this crap questioning his motivation is just speculative nonsense. He has reportedly had issues getting along with people. That doesn’t mean he isn’t motivated or doesn’t work hard. To me it seems like he doesn’t deal with his disappointment about his team and people not playing up to his standards if anything. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t learn to get along better with people.

    The people that have questioned his toughness stems from him missing time in the past with migraines. Idiots that I’m sure have never had a serious one. People that wouldn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. I’ve had minor to moderate migraines. My mother has battled serious ones. I can tell you that they’re no joke.

  30. Ive never been one who bashed Harvin for his migraines. Dude tried to practice with one, puked on the field, and had to be carted to the locker room. If that aint tough, Im a Raiders fan from Long Beach…

    But he has had other nagging injuries, and the malcontent stuff has dogged him wherever he’s been. Its a concern, but I wont pretend to know all the answers. Besides, if he cant straighten up with Carrol and this fine team, he never will. Now is his time to shine.

  31. HawkFromDay1 says:

    Panthers D-line is big. I think we’ll use a steady diet of stretch plays and read option to the outside to make those big boys run.

    A little success there will open up play-action and roll outs.

    I would expect to see an 80:20 ratio of run:pass on our first few possessions. Once that front 7 is broken down, their back four can’t hang with our playmakers.

    Don’t be surprised to see the Panthers score on us. Take the over! :-)

  32. yankinta says:

    Most of you that think negatively about Harvin are jumping to conclusion with very little knowledge. I won’t do that. I still absolutely love this deal to go after Harvin by our FO. They have much better knowledge than we do. We will know better after he’s been here for at least several months. So let’s watch and learn,, shall we??

  33. I think the issues with Harvin in Minnesota stemmed from not being on a consistently competitive team. For any player that wants to WIN not just every game, but every play Iand growing accustomed to that in his time at UF) that can be tough to deal with.

    There aren’t enough balls to go around in this offense for any of the receivers to have video game numbers, but that’s the beauty of the system. Every guy has to be accounted for on every snap, and any of the skill players has the talent to make a big play, break some tackles, RAC, etc. Combine that with a stable of physical running backs and a very intelligent QB who makes good decisions, and that is a scary offense.

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