New Orleans Saints defense should fare better against this week's dynamic superstar quarterback Cam Newton
Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III took the NFL by storm last Sunday, and he left a battered New Orleans Saints defense in his wake. Now comes a daunting matchup against last year's breakout NFL star, Cam Newton, and the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is tackled by New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma as the New Orleans Saints play the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 9, 2011.
So naturally there are concerns about whether the Saints' corps of engineers has had enough time to fortify the team's quarterback protection system.
"He's as talented a guy as I've seen back there," Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said of Newton, adding that he hasn't "had the fortune - or the misfortune - of having to coach against him yet."
"He stays on spot in the pocket. He doesn't get rattled. He has a command of everything. He's not afraid to tuck the ball in and run with it like a fullback. He possesses a lot of different challenges," Spagnuolo continued. "There are some similarities to last week. And in some ways that helps."
There are several differences between the two dynamic young Heisman Trophy winners - most notably that Newton (listed at 6 feet 5, 245 pounds) is at least 30 pounds heavier than Griffin (listed at 6-2, 217), and that Newton will spend more time in the pocket looking to throw down the field.
However, the main similarity is the one that will pose the biggest problem for a Saints defense that now ranks last in the NFL in yards allowed (459) after a 40-32 loss in Week 1: Both Newton and Griffin are among the most unique athletes the NFL has ever seen at the position, and both have the ability to make big plays with their arms and legs.
ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said that dual threat is particularly hard on defenses when offenses like the Redskins and Panthers use a lot of play-action run fakes.
"The reason play-action for any quarterback is successful if it's done correctly is because it puts the defense in 'second-reaction mode,'" Dilfer explained. "Well, a running quarterback really at times can make you play 'third-reaction defense' because you have to defend the run, then you have to defend the quarterback run, then you've got to defend the pass.
"It's just one more wrinkle in kind of the conflict that puts defense in to defend this type of quarterback. And it's driving people crazy because they don't know how to defend it."
The Saints were absolutely in "second-reaction" and "third-reaction" mode against the Redskins last week. They kept their blitzes to a minimum, and on several plays even the defensive ends hung back behind the line of scrimmage to make sure they didn't get caught up in traffic around the edges.
Actually this is not good because now the officials are going to be ultra sensitive to not call penalties in favor of the saints.
Oops wrong thread response. Omg I need some food and liquids to kill this hangover.
Re: New Orleans Saints defense should fare better against this week's dynamic superstar quarterback Cam Newton
we played him twice already and there is plenty of tape on them. so once again the media drama queens strike again. they score 7 few points than were scored against us last week. baby steps
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