Cam vs Cam: Heyward Hoping to Contain Newton

Steelers defense to face unique challenge tonight

Josh Rowntree
November 08, 2018 - 11:56 am
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) laughs before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

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Carolina quarterback Cam Newton is built like a defensive end, runs like a running back and has a rocket for an arm.

So, how do the Steelers contain the talented Panthers signal caller tonight at Heinz Field? 

“When we pursue, we have to pursue aggressive,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “Don’t just be on your heels, reading. Make your shot count, shoot your shot. If we stay on our heels and let him come to us, he’s going to fall forward. He’s a 250-pounder that’s not going down easy. We’ve got to attack and we’ve got to attack now. The less reading, the better.”

The 6-foot-5 Newton is having another excellent season. He is on pace for his lowest interception total of his career, with only four thrown this year. He’s passed for 1,893 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s also run for four scores and is averaging 42.8 rushing yards per game. 

“I just think when you’ve got a quarterback like Cam Newton, who is so dynamic in both the pass and the run, you’ve got to be on your P’s and Q’s,” Heyward said. “You’ve got to be an attacking defense.

“Cam’s been doing in for eight years now. He hasn’t wilted away. He’s able to drag blocks, put defensive backs on their backs. It’s going to be a group effort to bring this guy down.”

Newton provides a unique challenge for Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler. The last time Pittsburgh faced Newton was 2014. Butler was in his final year as linebackers coach before taking Dick LeBeau’s position as defensive coordinator. The Steelers won, 37-19. Newton threw for 250 yards and a touchdown, but rushed only twice for seven yards. 

“It’s a pain in the neck because they’ve got a big daggum quarterback,” said Butler, in his native Alabama twang. “And he’s probably bigger than any fullback they’ve got.

“I think you’ve got to do it a lot of different ways. You can’t be playing the same thing all the time. If he’s going to be running the ball, we’re going to treat him like a running back. He’s a big guy, he’s run over people. Our guys have seen that. He’s a physical guy, too.”

The Panthers are more than Newton. Carolina is 6-2 and running back Christian McCaffery is a big reason why. He’s scored three touchdowns and has 502 yards on the ground. Add in a high-caliber tight end in Greg Olsen and it all equates to a Panthers offense that has put up 67 points in wins over AFC North teams Baltimore and Cincinnati this year. 

“They do a lot of different things,” Butler said. “They’ve got reverses and stuff like that. We’ve got to be able to set edges and be disciplined in what we’re doing. If we do that, we’ll be alright.”

Hear more with Cam Heyward below.