Cam Newton did more Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles than post the fourth-best quarterback rating of his career and fifth-best yardage total since entering the league.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Newton began calling plays at the line.
“One thing he did do a little bit more of yesterday was change a couple plays at the line of scrimmage,” Rivera said. “I think he’s starting to get comfortable with those things. As he improves and learns those things, I think he’ll get better and better.”
After spending the first year and a half throwing from the shotgun formation and using his legs to get out of trouble, the Panthers' coaching staff finally feels that he's ready to make more decisions with his head.
Those decisions on Monday night in Philadelphia were sound, and the confidence Newton demonstrated in the passing game goes a long way to showing he's maturing as a quarterback.
Newton's first touchdown pass was a 24-yard strike to to tight end Gary Barnidge. The play only worked because Newton did a great job with a pump fake and a look off to get the deep safety on the right to commit to the outside receiver on his side, freeing up Barnidge for an easy score.
As defenses continue to throw new looks at Newton, he's going to have to continue to grow as a thinker on the field. If he can continue to use the options he's given—offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is sending Newton to the line with two plays to choose from—and learn to manipulate the defenders, Newton will quickly begin progressing.
A key to success, according to Atlanta Field Report, for the Falcons against the Saints Thursday is to make the transition to running back Jacquizz Rodgers earlier in the game.
Per Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton, New Orleans doesn't consider the Atlanta game to be a rivalry game. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Starting defensive tackle Ron Edwards was placed on injured reserve Monday with a dislocated left elbow, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Do the New Orleans Saints have to win Thursday to make the playoffs?
Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis said the Falcons' running game is predictable based on which back (Jacquizz Rodgers or Michael Turner) is in the game. [WWL-TV]
According to the Times-Picayune, the Saints aren't putting too much pressure on themselves even though Thursday night's game is close to a must-win.
According to the Tampa Tribune, the Buccaneers placed right tackle Jeremy Trueblood and safety Cody Grimm on injured reserve.
Cornerback Eric Wright lost his appeal and was handed a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. [Tampa Bay Times]