The Denver Broncos top-ranked defense is fully aware of the challenges facing it come Super Bowl 50 on February 7—namely Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers offense.
“He’s throwing the ball amazing right now,” said Broncos Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib. “And you know what he can do with his legs. He’s the best of both worlds; he’s probably the most dangerous in the NFL right now.”
Preparing for Newton will certainly take the full two weeks, even for the No. 1 defense in the NFL.
“I never seen nobody who was that size who looks like a typical NFL quarterback who can sit in the pocket and then you can run…He’s definitely a unique player. Like I said, he’s probably the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL right now.”
Newton finished 2015 with 3,837 yards, 35 passing touchdowns, and another ten rushing scores, making him the front-runner for the NFL MVP. The Panthers also led the league in scoring with over 31 points per game, and although there was some question as to whether or not Carolina was actually that good given their relatively easy schedule, 31 points against the Seattle Seahawks and 49 against the Arizona Cardinals in their two playoff victories answered that real quick.
“You can’t rush timid, because if you do that, he’s one of those pocket quarterbacks that can get the ball deep down the field,” said Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware. “You have to be able to get pressure on him, but you have to be decisive on how you’re rushing. You can’t be a wild rusher with big, wide B-gaps or let him run in the A-gap and do what he wants to do because he’s actually a running back himself. He can get yards and make big plays, so you have to make sure the pocket is tight when you’re rushing against him, but you still have to be aggressive.”
In other words, the Broncos still aren’t 100 percent sure on their strategy…or at least, they don’t want Newton to think they are.
Social media seems to be favoring the Panthers in a blowout, but let’s not forget one major key the Broncos have today that they didn’t have two years ago against the Seahawks—defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Let’s not count anyone out just yet.