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September 5, 2012 @ 6:49 pm
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Neutralizing Newton Key For Bucs On Sunday

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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The Buccaneers open the 2012 season hosting Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon. Wednesday, Newton spoke to the Tampa Bay media via conference call and said, despite his numbers last season, he must improve. Bucs' players also talked about what they must do in order to start the season with a win.
Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton was the consensus rookie of the year last season and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone on the Buccaneers roster that would disagree with the accolade.

Although he was on injured reserve and didn’t play against the Newton in 2011, count Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy as a believer.

“This guy has a lot of vet in him already,” McCoy said. “After a full year, you could see it last year, [his] decision making got better as the year went on. Not just with his passes, but he has to decide whether or not he is going to keep it or hand it off. He is just a different breed. He is an escape artist. He can do it all. So we just got to be ready for it.

“Most people are so afraid of him running the ball. The reason I say he has got a lot of vet in him is because he uses his legs to get open so he can pass it. He is not a run-first guy. Most people think he is, but you just don’t throw for 4,000 yards for no reason. He likes to pass the ball. As big as he is he likes to still have open lanes so he can pass.”

The former Auburn star defied the odds last season and despite not having any offseason, learning a new playbook and having a new coach, the Heisman winner completed 310-of-517 passes for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns. And that was just through the air. Newton also set an NFL quarterback record with 14 touchdowns on the ground.

Even with those gaudy numbers, Newton knows there are things he must improve on.

“My focus on this year will be executing this offense to a “T,” Newton said.  Coming out and giving my teammates and holding myself accountable to what I do and what my responsibility is on each and every play. I think the final test is how do I come out week No. 1 and perform.

“With the preseason being over with and training camp and OTAs behind me. I think the challenge is not just on me, but the overall team on how we can better finish each and every game.

“It is a new season and we are coming on [it] with a clean slate.  A lot of things that we struggled in last year can’t be the things that we struggle in this year. I think that’s the things that we worked on in the offseason. Hopefully we can have the mentality to come in and do the proper things that we can do get a win this upcoming week.”

Second-year linebacker Mason Foster knows that Newton will make his fair share of plays, but the key to beating the Panthers will be limiting how many splash plays Newton has.

“He is a great athlete,” Foster said. “I think he is going to make his plays still. People may be more in tuned to his running this year, but he got better just like everybody else got better. We are going to see [him] Sunday. First game of the season so you are definitely going to see him.

“And he is a really good passer. A lot of people [because] he is such a good runner forget that he can throw. He has great control of his offense. So he is always tough. He can option and he can drop back and pass. You just got to get out there and stop him.”

Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan talked about the difficulty and challenges that Newton presents to the Buccaneers in a press conference this afternoon at One Buc Place.

“We, just yesterday – just to get us depressed – watched all of his scrambles from a year ago,” Sheridan said. “And he’s really hard to tackle in the open field. Even if you have guys kind of assigned to him and have leverage on him, he has the ability to make a guy miss just like a tailback does. So absolutely, it’s a whole other world than we’ll be playing the other weeks of the season.”

In a conference call with the media Wednesday afternoon Newton talked about the new Buccaneers defense and the difficulty in game planning without the benefit of any film.

“I think it comes down to execution,” Newton said.  “This week is somewhat of a challenge for us to grasp. Not only a whole new scheme, but also just kind of wondering how these guys are going to attack us. I think that’s the challenge. You know for us to come out and execute [and] running plays as given and understand what the coaches want from us each and every play.”

Wednesday afternoon cornerback Aqib Talib summed up Newton to the crowd of reporters who surrounded his locker.

“He is the most versatile quarterback in the league,” Talib said. “He is a great quarterback [and] a great running back. He even caught a pass against us last year so a great receiver also. [He] is just a great athlete playing quarterback.”
 



Last modified on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 19:05
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    I agree with JM2 and stlbucsfan, we need a mean streak like we had a few years ago. If we can get that going, then Horse's theory comes true.
  • avatar

    Hit Cam hard and often and he will shy away from the run, I agree. I don't think the Bucs will try to air it out. Schiano has stated over and over that the Bucs will be a run first, take their shots team, I don't think that was a smoke screen.
  • avatar


    I remember being a Bucs fan back when Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brroks, Lynch, Quarles etc roamed on the defensive side of the ball. Granted they were a supremely talented bunch in comparison to this group but what this defense STILL lacks, above personnel changes, and scheme changes is a mentality change. Saying that you can "only hope to contain Cam" is a piece of $hit, excuse my language. The age old theory holds true, if you hit any player then they will shy away from contact and quarterbacks are no different. Bring the pressure, everytime Cam rolls out of the pocket make him feel it and that will negate his running ability not a spy. I remember when Vick p;layed in Atlanta and we CONTINUALLY knocked him out of games with rib and shoulder injuries bc they made him pay everytime he decided the scramble. There is no scheme that is going to make up for laying the wood on Cam when the shots are there. When I see somebody lay a solid lick on Cam that will let me know they might be ready to step up as a unit! Im looking for a nasty streak in this unit that has been lacking in awhile.
  • avatar


    The BUCS have not assembled four good running backs to "put the ball in the air" against anyone, including the Panthers. I believe the approach will be to run the ball and keep the score close and win it in the fourth quarter. I am very concerned about Freeman, not only from last year but this year in pre-season as well. I just don't see a franchise quarterback in the making. There is no consistency in his play to game-plan around his talent. In the NFC South, he trails Brees, Ryan and Newton in talent and leadership. I hope I am wrong, but that's just what I see to this point. I also think our defense is going to play far better than anticipated. Our defensive backs are very solid, talented and deep and all the linebackers are fast and good tacklers. The defensive line is quick and aggressive. As everyone has stated, depth is the biggest concern. GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar


    Remember Freeman is working in a new system (again). It will take him a while to adjust. I think he can still be the Freechise.
  • avatar

    I am telling you guys, we are going to beat the Panthers. Cam is going to regress this year and our defense is going to be top 15. I know...I am smoking something. But with Talib (who I am convinced is going to go off this year) neutralizing an aging Smith, and no other receiving weapons for Carolina (maybe Olsen, but he is not going to beat us), our defense can concentrate on the run only. On top of that, their offense is going to be trying to figure us out the whole time. Meanwhile, our offense will be grinding away, limiting Newton's opportunities to move the ball. Call me crazy, but this might be an *censored* whipping. Tampa--27 Carolina--14.
  • avatar


    Or we can use the Dungy strategy of running the ball over and over with a little passing and count on our defense to keep us in the game. Of course the problem with this option is that our defense is nowhere as good as it was under Dungy, especially with no depth in the defensive line that is going to get very tired chasing their QB, and also without Joseph and Carolina having upgraded their defense, I doubt we will be able to consistently run the ball. Hence, Horse's strategy is probably going to be the better strategy. Our defense needs to use the advantage of the weather and come out with a swarming, energetic defense, and try to get some good turnovers. Without a performance equal to what the Bucs did against New England this Preseason, we do not have a chance against a better Panther team. Perhaps our coaches have some good tricks up their sleeves that the Panthers have not seen yet, and we can fool them a lot! Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    Speed and sound tackling will help us in this game in containing Newton. I believe we need to put the ball in the air. We've got to get 30 points to beat them and we can do it. Go Bucs!
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