Too much pressure on Cam Newton to win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Is too much pressure being put on quarterback Cam Newton to win for the winless Carolina Panthers?

Coach Ron Rivera believes so, and he makes a valid point.

"Too much hinges on people thinking it's all about just the quarterback,'' Rivera said on Friday. "Yeah, he's got to play well, but so do the other guys around him. One of the things I try to tell the players is we need 11 guys doing one thing at a time, not one guy doing 11.

"People miss that. We tend to put the expectations on one guy too much.''

The winless New York Giants have spent a lot of time focusing on Newton for Sunday's game. They have made the top selection of the 2011 NFL draft seem larger than life, calling him "one of a kind'' because of his size and strength.

They also have spent the week studying running quarterbacks in both the NFL and college.

That shouldn't come as a surprise. Carolina linebacker Chase Blackburn, who started at middle linebacker for the Giants a year ago in a 36-7 victory over the Panthers, said the goal then was to make Newton and the offense one-dimensional.

In other words, make Newton beat them with his arm.

It worked. The Giants jumped to a 20-0 lead, which basically took away Carolina's running game. Newton finished with six yards on six rushes and completed 16 of 30 pass attempts with three interceptions.

Rivera would argue it wasn't so much that the Giants made Newton one-dimensional as the Panthers did, dropping catchable balls early when the score was tight and then falling behind by three scores.

You could argue the Panthers have made Newton one-dimensional so far this season with coordinator Mike Shula's more traditional offense. Newton has rushed only nine times for 53 yards, which ranks 45th in the league.

That's a pace for 424 yards for a quarterback that rushed for 706 and 741 yards the past two seasons. Four other quarterbacks have more rushing yards this year.

Newton hasn't fared much better passing. His 354 yards ranks 28th in the league.

So unless the Panthers turn Newton loose on the ground, the Giants may not have to work hard to make him one-dimensional. Maybe that's the game plan, though.

Asked if Newton might run more this week, Rivera said, "We're looking at things we do best.''

Asked if the Giants can make Newton one-dimensional, he said, "I'm not sure with Cam's ability to run the ball you can make him one-dimensional.''

Is that putting too much pressure on Newton? Not if everybody around him does their job.