Trask Talk: Toughen Up, Cam
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The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers for the second time in as many games by a score of 21-20 on Thursday, September 8th. What sadly overshadowed how well the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos played was the “head hunting” antics of the Denver defense. Cam Newton was pounded by the Broncos defenders and often times found himself struggling to get up late in the fourth quarter.
Panthers’ fans and the National Football League were up in arms about the no-calls late in the game regarding the star quarterback Newton’s health. Denver’s defense supplied consistent pressure all night and got to Cam multiple times with big hits. Which is exactly what John Elway and the Denver Broncos pay every single player on the defense millions of dollars to do, hit the quarterback.
Cam Newton being a superstar should not exempt him from the punishment of leaving the pocket as a quarterback. If he is going to take the ball and run like a running back, he should be pursued and hit like one. Regular season games aren’t practice where he wears the red penny and can’t be touched but every other player is fair game. This is professional tackle football.The goal of every defensive lineman and linebacker is to go hit the quarterback. Not wrap them up, trip them by their shoelace or gently place them down, but to really hit the quarterback.
If Cam Newton is going to lower his shoulder, run for touchdowns and especially dance in front of and mock the Denver fans, he is going to be hit. If tackling a player every play hard is “targeting”, then wasn’t Broncos’ running back C.J. Anderson “targeted”? He was hit every play he had the ball and sometimes harder than others. They must have been out to get him on every play, huh?
The great Peyton Manning stayed healthy for the majority of his career by rarely, if ever, leaving the pocket. He knew the punishment that was typically dished out to quarterbacks who dared to venture past the line of scrimmage against elite defenses. A major part of football is getting hit which is why only the toughest and most resilient guys make it to the NFL. Robert Griffin III wound up on injured reserve again today because he left the pocket and got hit. If Cam doesn’t want to get hit, then he shouldn’t run or he should get rid of the football quicker. Simple as that. If big hits are what the NFL is worried about, then they’re ruining the sport. Fans love to see the monster hits and some would argue that they are one of the best parts of a football game.
If Newton wants to talk, dance and act like the big shot he thinks he is, he should expect a beating like the Denver defense gave him. The Panthers shouldn’t rely on Greg Olsen to beg for yellow flags after his QB gets hit in the mouth. That’s just smash mouth football and smash mouth football is what brought another Lombardi trophy back to Denver, not Charlotte.