CLEVELAND -- At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds with the speed to avoid pressure when protection breaks down and strong enough to stay in the pocket to make the necessary throws to move the ball down the field, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is not the typical signal-caller.
In fact, Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert believes Newton is one of a kind and looks forward to the challenge of defending against him in their interconference matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland Sunday.
“There is nobody like Cam Newton who I think has ever played in the NFL at that position as long as the NFL has been around,” Schobert said earlier this week. “He is a unique individual. He has a unique skillset. Like (Coach) Gregg (Williams) said, size-wise, he is bigger than Myles (Garrett) or at least Myles’ size.
“When you have a tight end/defensive end kind of body back there, really mobile moving around, can really play strength and he can throw the ball down the field. You really have to contain him and make him be more of just a pocket passer and not allow him to use his athletic traits to beat you.”
In 12 games this season, Newton has completed 278 of his 400 attempts for 2,999 yards and 24 touchdowns against 11 interceptions, all while being sacked an average of two times per game. Also, Newton has rushed for 450 yards and four touchdowns on 91 carries.
Newton is on pace to have the second-most touchdown passes in a single season and could set a personal record for passing yards in a year.
“Cam is Cam,” defensive back T.J. Carrie said. “He has been in this league for a long time. He has a very strong arm. He is very hard to tackle. They use him a lot with his statute of ability to run the ball. He is very two-dimensional in the abilities that he has.
“He has some very talented guys around him that he is able to get the ball to and distribute it to get it out of his hands. They do a lot of good things over there. There are going to be things that we are definitely going to have to stop, like the run.”
Having not completed passes at a 60 percent or better clip in five of the last six seasons, Newton has been on the mark with 69.5 percent of his throws under the direction of offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
“He has done a very good job of buying into the quick releases,” Browns interim coach Gregg Jackson said. “He has not held the ball as long as he was earlier in his career.
“He has done a very good job of recognizing and defining coverage, getting the ball out of his hands and making good plays that way. He really has. He has taken the obvious read more times than not instead of forcing the ball. That is what happens when you grow as a quarterback, and he has.
“I have a lot of respect for him. I really do. He is a really good football player. We are going to have to make sure we stay on our scheme responsibility. You can be right on it, and then, be overpowered because that is how big he is. He can break a tackle.”
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