Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers is the ultimate dual-threat quarterback at the NFL thanks to his precision passing and his physical running style that compares well to most running backs around the league.
The latter has to stop, at least according to Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula. That, or be more smart about is says Shula, via a quote obtained by Dan Pompei of the National Football Post:
Newton averaged nearly eight carries per game in each of his first two seasons. Those run attempts are likely to keep coming, but Shula wants to be smart with the runs. “In this run/read offense, there are decisions he makes with the option,” Shula said. “Don’t make decisions where he gets hit right away. If you are not sure if you should hand it off or keep it, then hand it off.”
Shula is in the business of fielding the most lethal offense possible, which is something not all that difficult with a weapon like Newton. However, to remain successful in said business Shula has to find a way to keep Newton healthy for the duration of a 16-game season.
Health is quite the challenge when you have a quarterback like Newton. He’s bigger than most at the position, but Newton seems to seek out contact like some of the most physical running backs in the league. Shula knows that has to stop.
Shula is unlikely to tinker with a system that has allowed Newton to be one of the most successful quarterbacks ever over the course a a two-year period, but he does appear to be coaching Newton up in the ways of smarter, healthier football.
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