In my story today, Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a simple answer when asked how to slow down Carolina quarterback Cam Newton – make him beat you with his arm.
“I don’t think we let Cam run on us like that,” Wagner said. “We’ll let him throw the ball, try to beat us throwing, which I don’t think he can do.”
For the Seahawks, that strategy worked in the team’s 16-12 victory at Carolina last season. Newton threw a potential, winning touchdown to tight end Ben Hartsock in the dirt on his way to finishing with a season-low in passing yards (141) and completions (12).
However, head coach Ron Rivera said he simplified the offense in the second half of 2012, which resulted in much better production from the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 draft.
Newton compiled a 94.7 passer rating in the last nine games, completing 143 out of 240 passes (59.6 percent) for 1,920 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions?
Newton also rushed for 441 yards and five touchdowns during the final nine games last season. The Panthers finished 5-4 in those contests, winning five of their last six games to finish 7-9.
Cornerback Richard Sherman said the key to containing Newton on Sunday will be keeping him off balance.
“If he gets any kind of momentum, he’s hard to stop,” Sherman said. “So just keeping him uncomfortable, that’s always the plan – we force them to make a decision, and then we have to make a tackle.”
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that former Seattle running back Michael Robinson will meet with Tennessee on Friday.
Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN Seattle has details on Seattle defensive end O’Brien Schofield’s conversation with Dave Wyman, Michael Grey and Jim Moore. Schofield said Arizona releasing him still serves as motivation.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com talks about Seattle dealing with early starts in his Thursday practice report.
Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports that the Seahawks worked out former N.Y. giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports gives the Denver Broncos an A+ for Peyton Manning’s dismantling of Baltimore’s rebuilt defense.
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer predicts a 23-21 Carolina victory over Seattle.
Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer writes that Ted Ginn Jr. is having a rebirth with the Panthers.