Ravens’ No. 1 defense looks to stop ‘fast dinosaur’
Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle likened Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to a “fast dinosaur” this week.
“Muscular and big,” Weddle said. “He’s a very unique quarterback in the league, the only one really like him.”
The Ravens’ defense ranks first in the league overall, but they’ve not faced a dual-threat quarterback such as Newton, which adds some intrigue to what should be a physical game Sunday between two teams that pride themselves on playing great defense and ballcontrol offense.
Weddle said when Newton gets loose, bringing him down calls for a player to proceed at his own risk. He chose the Triceratops as the kind of dinosaur that best represents Newton.
“The big one with horns,” Weddle said.
Newton is the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns rushing by a quarterback and is third all-time in yards rushing with 4,577. He needs 352 yards to pass Randall Cunningham for second place.
Mike Vick is No. 1 with 6,109 yards.
“Amazing player, extremely difficult in the open field,” Weddle said of Newton.
Newton laughed at Weddell’s compliment, saying it’s not the first time someone has called him that. The 2015 league MVP said Trooper Taylor, a former assistant at Auburn, used to call him that when he was playing for the Tigers.
“I always asked him, ‘Why do you call me a dinosaur?’ ” Newton said. “He said, ‘Your talent is extinct. They don’t make them like you no more.’
“I always laughed, but if you look around this league – and I’ve tried to warn a lot of people prior, too – it not cocky, it’s not confidence, it’s just self-belief in yourself knowing that the talents that you possess, a lot of people can’t say that they have.”
Newton has run for 252 yards and a team-high three touchdowns this season while averaging 4.9 yards per carry for Carolina (4-2). He’s also thrown for 11 TDs. RUNNING ROOKIE: Newton won’t be the only quarterback on the field to be a threat to run.
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has proven effective as an occasional replacement for Joe Flacco in short-yardage situations for the Ravens (4-3).
The former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick scored his first NFL touchdown last week and ranks second on the team with 103 yards rushing.
Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly said Jackson “is a playmaker who creates problems because of his speed and athleticism” and that “it’s important to know where he is on the field.”
Harbaugh often wrestles with finding the right time to use Jackson because Flacco is having such a good season with 11 touchdown passes and four interceptions. COVERING TIGHT ENDS: The Ravens drafted Hayden Hurst in the first round figuring he would play a major role on the offense, but a foot injury has limited him to one catch for 7 yards.
Now rounding back into good health, he may have an opportunity to break out this week against a Carolina defense that has struggled covering tight ends.
Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle said of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, “He’s a very unique quarterback in the league, the only one really like him.”
Sunday’s matchup features two legendary pass rushers with the Carolina Panthers’ Julius Peppers and the Baltimore Ravens’ Terrell Suggs.