Coming out of college everybody had an opinion whether Cam Newton could be an NFL QB. But the truth is, nobody knows how anybody will work out in the NFL, because transitioning from college is a huge step. Just ask a few of the big names, like Akili Smith or Ryan Leaf. However, last year saw Cam Newton burst out of the gates and rewrite the record books. Why? Because he can both read a defence and is athletic enough to get out of trouble. Oh, and he appears to have a great arm too, read below.
READING A DEFENSE
The quarterback reads the contour of the defense. If a defensive back is stacked or close to a LB, it might be an indication that the player they are stacking might bring a blitz. In other words, the blitzer needs to be replaced to cover a receiver.
a) No safeties high, the nickel is stacked by the FS and SS in low, in position to cover the TE man-to-man. The Sam LB is not in position to cover the TE man-to-man. This would be a good indication that there might be some pressure coming. Cover 0 might be the call, man-to-man coverage, no help deep with a 6-man rush.
b) One safety high, nickel is stacked by the SS and the FS is high. The Nickel might blitz, the Sam linebacker is in position to cover the TE man-to-man. The FS is high in position to help deep. Cover 1 might be the call, man to man coverage, help deep with a 5-man rush.
The Panthers have the ball on the -23 yard line, left hash, 3rd and 7, 1st quarter, 7:23 on the clock. The Cardinals lead Carolina 7-0. The Panthers have Ace personnel on the field - 3 WR, 1 TE split out. They line up in a 3x1 formation - three receivers to the right and one receiver to the left. Newton is in the shotgun position, and the running back is offset to his left.
The Cardinals have a “funky” defense on the field, as not one of the defensive linemen are in a 3-point stance. This is more or less a new trend in the NFL - by doing this the defense is trying to disguise their intentions. This in turn makes it harder for the offense to make a call on where to slide their pass protection. Slide the protection the right way and you pick up all the rushers - slide it the wrong way and players are blocking air on one side and you come up short on the other side!
It's hard to find out what the defensive personnel on the field is for the Cardinals but there are only three DL on the field and it looks like only one LB.
The Cardinals made it easy for Newton to read the intentions of the defense. This is because:
1. There is an “overhang” on the left side. The Dime DB lines up on the LOS and there is no edge rusher on the right side of the formation. The two players closest to that side aren’t in position to come off the edge quickly.
2. The SS is sliding over to stack the corner.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9p2gGfVU7k
The Panthers slide their protection to the left and all is well that ends well. They pick it all up and Cam can stand tall in a clean pocket. The throw itself isn’t that impressive - he actually under throws the ball to #89 Steve Smith! The reason Smith is open in the first place is because #25 Kerry Rhodes gets burnt big time, a huge mental error by Rhodes.
Cam throws for his first regular season NFL TD pass and there are plenty more to come in the future. This was our first taste of exactly what Cam can do at the NFL level and was the beginning of a record breaking season.
WHAT PLAY NEXT? IT’S UP TO YOU!
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