Super Bowl 50 comes ever closer and with that the X’s and O’s break downs of the games begin. The main question facing the Denver Broncos defense is how to deal with and contain Panthers QB Cam Newton.
“That’s a good question, I think I ironically may be against the popular opinion here but I think you want him out of the pocket,” said Bill Cowher, current CBS NFL Today analyst on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones show. “I think he’s become very, very comfortable in the pocket. When you go back to the play he made last week to Brown coming across the middle, the Arizona Cardinals bring a blitz, five people standing up at the line. The offensive line sorted it out, but more importantly than that, Cam was patient in the pocket. Right now, he’s throwing the ball very accurately from the pocket. When you do that along with his power running game, to me it’s a two-gap approach to the running game, it’s trying to flush him out to his left, to get him out of the pocket.”
Out of the pocket? Not something that you usually equate with a QB as good running with the football as Newton, but Cowher says it’s because of how good a pocket passer Cam has now become. You don’t want him to be comfortable.
“I can see the same approach they (Denver) took last week with Tom Brady,” said Cowher. “I don’t want him on that spot, and I don’t want him running to his right. I don’t think I want him too much in that pocket because I’ve seen him be very, very accurate with the deep ball.”
Lost in the conversation surrounding Cam and his counterpart Peyton Manning has been just how good the two defenses for these teams are. Cowher is known as a defensive guy, so which unit does he give the edge to on Sunday?
“I think the yards has gone to Denver, but when you look at the takeaways it goes to Carolina. Playmakers really all around,” said Cowher. “This Denver defense, what they did last week to Tom Brady and company. Then, when you look at the Panthers defense they are scoring touchdowns, they’re not just shutting people down, Luke Kuechly has two return touchdowns and Josh Norman is maybe, arguably, the best corner in the National Football League and the the two tackles, Lotuleilei and Short, they’re pretty special. So, it should be a great match-up. I think the biggest key for Denver is to weather the storm early because this Carolina team has been jumping on people very early in games.”