QB Cam Newton neutralizes the blitz

October, 19, 2010
10/19/10
1:00
PM ET
A defense facing Cam Newton has to know that it is almost a given that the Auburn Tigers quarterback will gain yards on the ground. He is just too big and too strong for a defense to completely shut his ground attack down.

But when Newton drops back to pass, defensive coordinators have to be smart if their team wants to slow down the Heisman candidate. On Saturday, the Arkansas Razorbacks defense played right into Newton’s hands, trying to stop him by sending extra pass rushers.

Newton came into the Arkansas game completing more than 70.0 percent of his passes against the blitz, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. His pass efficiency rating of 258.4 against the blitz was exactly 100 points higher than his efficiency rating when a defense sends four rushers or fewer and drops into coverage. Yet, the Arkansas defense brought the blitz on more than 64 percent of Newton’s passes, and he made the Razorbacks pay. He completed eight-of-nine passes against Arkansas’ added pressure, for 132 yards and a touchdown.

The LSU Tigers are next on Auburn’s schedule, and if the Tigers from Baton Rouge want to remain unbeaten, the defense must get pressure from the front four, and allow Patrick Peterson and the rest of the secondary to drop into coverage.

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