The New York Jets have three objectives Sunday:
1. Contain Cam Newton's passing.
2. Contain Newton's scrambling.
3. Contain Newton on designed runs.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback calls himself Superman. It'll be the Jets' job to keep him in the phone booth. How can they do that?
“I think just not letting him, as people say, put the cape on his back and make all those plays he normally makes,” defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said. “Whether it is getting out of the pocket and scrambling, or just Cam being Cam, we have to make sure we keep him in the pocket and he doesn’t have explosive plays.”
The Jets' defense has played better in recent weeks, but New York (4-6) has this bugaboo when it comes to mobile quarterbacks. The Jets have allowed 204 rushing yards to opposing signal-callers (tie-29th), according to ESPN Stats & Information. They did a nice job against the slippery Tyrod Taylor in Week 9, using linebackers Demario Davis and Darron Lee as spies, but Newton is a different deal because of his size (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) and ability to run on designed plays.
"He presents all challenges," coach Todd Bowles said. "Run game, pass game, out of the pocket, in the pocket, short balls, handing the ball off, running it himself. He's a good football player. He's one of those quarterbacks that has all facets."
Newton is coming off his best game of the season, passing for four touchdowns and rushing for 95 yards in a blowout victory over the Miami Dolphins that left Carolina at 7-3. It took longer than expected, but the Panthers' offense finally is clicking. They've topped the 200-yard rushing mark in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history.
Advice for the Jets: Order some kryptonite.