Panthers QB Cam Newton has given Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers a little more to think about this week when drawing up his game plan.
Newton could be more of a factor running the ball on Sunday when Green Bay hosts Carolina than he was earlier in the season.
After being used sparingly in the run game during his first four starts, Newton carried a career-high 17 times for 107 yards and scored his first touchdown Sunday, helping the Panthers put up a season-high 37 points against the Bengals in a game that ended in a tie. Ankle and rib injuries limited Newton to 42 yards on 14 carries prior to Sunday.
"I'm not going to say he was a 100 percent healthy, but he's a lot healthier than he was at the beginning of the year," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "He's feeling more comfortable and confident in himself — and because of that it allowed us to open up our game plan."
Newton was unavailable for comment Monday, but said after the game he never expected to be that big of a factor in the run game.
The Bengals basically dared Newton to run and the fourth-year quarterback took advantage on designed read options — a play where he fakes the ball to a running back and keeps it. Newton proved he was feeling better when he kept the ball on a read option and ran through two Bengals for a 12-yard touchdown run, the story pointed out. We had a news item a few weeks ago where Rivera said he was waiting for the right time to unleash Newton and Week 6 looked to be the time. His potential rushing yardage certainly increases the fantasy value of Newton going forward, but keep in mind he continues to recover from ankle and rib injuries so we may not see 17 attempts and 100 yards every game.