Chicago Sun-Times

The Challenge of Cam

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I didn't watch a whole lot of college football last season. But, because Auburn was so good, I did get to see Cam Newton.

Forget about all the off-the-field drama, which does cast some concern about character.

But as a player, I was very, very impressed. There's the size and mobility. But what stood out to me -- unlike some other mobile college quarterbacks -- was his very solid throwing mechanics. I really wondered about Tim Tebow, for instance, not only with his delivery but his arm strength.

But Newton showcased an ability to make all sort of throws. And while he can run, it seems his inclination is to throw, something Michael Vick still doesn't seem to have a handle on.

Many wondered if Newton would live up to being the No. 1 pick.

But what's not debatable is how impressive he has been through three games. Ultimately, quarterbacks are judged on wins and losses. But it's hard to dispute what he did in Week 1, against the Arizona Cardinals. And then, against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Newton put on another show, although he wasn't nearly as clutch as he had been the week before.

The Packers were able to force some key turnovers, in part, because of their blitz from all angles defense.

I have to wonder if the Bears will have to deviate from the norm and mix in some blitzes, and take more risks. The challenge for a young quarterback is processing what a defense is trying to do. If the Bears rely mostly on their base Cover-Two scheme, Newton isn't going to have too much difficulty understanding what's in front of him.

That approach from the Bears would, once again, put a lot of pressure on the d-line to make plays.

Perhaps the Bears should throw in some linebacker blitzes. But the player I would like to see take a few runs at Newton is D.J. Moore. He's athletic, he's a solid tackler, and he's shown good discipline, thus far, when he's been asked to go after the quarterback.

As I mentioned earlier, though, Newton is a specimen, someone who is hard to take down.

"I think he will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. From just watching him, you have to be impressed," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "You see a big guy in the pocket and we know he has a strong arm. He has great mobility and agility in the pocket and he has been accurate. Feels like he's pretty comfortable playing in the NFL. Most of the excitement when you talk about their team is based on what he's doing.

"It'll be a challenge for our team. We don't play many teams who get off the bus and their quarterback looks like Julius Peppers. We're excited about that."

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If Cam is this good, and he probably is,that means we will have faced four great quarterbacks in a row to start the season, and we haven' yet seen Stafford. Maybe this says something about the rules. Today's fans love all this offense. I think the game has been devalued. It's like touch football where everybody just goes out. Making a completion is akin to making a free throw in the NBA. But the fans tire of neither sport. Give me baseball, where getting a hit happens less than 30% of the time, so has some meaning. I hope the Panthers win. We need a disastrous season to start all over. Sorry.
It's almost disloyal to root for them.

"I have to wonder if the Bears will have to deviate from the norm ......."

What's that they say about a leopard changing its spots? Lovie does what Lovie does, and if it doesn't work he just says we need to do it better. That works fine when you have superior talent, but the Bears don't. Lovie has proven incapable of making adjustments or game planning to exploit a team's weaknesses. Plus, when the Bears do blitz it never seems to amount to much. Usually it's Urlacher coming up the middle where he immediately gets lost in traffic.

The Bears have a history of letting rookie quarterbacks have their way with them although the Bears don't need much help in looking bad. It's pretty ridiculous when a couple of players go out with injury and the whole thing falls apart. Time to get rid of Jerry Angelo who has put together this debacle. Forget this year, next year should be even better when Forte and Briggs both split.

This guy shredded the Green Bay defense, which the Bears did not do. I suspect the Bears' game plan will take into account the quarterback's mobility. I agree with you, Sean, that some deviation "from the norm" may well be in order. Blitzes might work, but Newton handled Green Bay's pretty well. Pressure from the ends seem to me the best approach regardless of whether or not he can handle the cover two defense. I thinkk Peppers should have a big game.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on September 28, 2011 9:56 AM.

Why Dane Sanzenbacher being one of leading receivers is a problem was the previous entry in this blog.

Highlights from Jay Cutler press conference is the next entry in this blog.

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