Ravens’ No. 1 de­fense looks to stop ‘fast di­nosaur’

The Beaufort Gazette (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY STEVE REED

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.

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