Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said that’s one of the unique aspects about facing the Panthers, who open the season at Jacksonville on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Bradley draws on experience as the defensive coordinator at Seattle in 2012 on how to plan for the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton, who has rushed for more yards (2,571) and touchdowns (33) than any quarterback in the NFL since 2011.
“The biggest thing we took into consideration, not only do you have to have a tackling plan for the running backs, but what made the game unique was you had to have a tackling plan for him because of his size and ability to run," Bradley said during a Wednesday conference call with Carolina reporters.
“You surely didn’t want him to extend plays or have the ball in his hands."
Seattle beat Carolina 16-12 in 2012. Newton rushed seven times for 42 yards. He completed only 12 of 29 pass attempts for 141 yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked four times.
The Panthers trailed only 14-12 with less than six minutes remaining when Seattle kept Newton and company out of the end zone on four plays from their own 6-yard line.
Newton’s fourth-and-goal pass from the 1 was incomplete.
Bradley’s defense went on to rank first in the NFL in points allowed (15.3 per game) and fourth in yards allowed (306.2) that season.
The challenge of stopping Newton will be much greater for a Jacksonville defense that last season ranked 26th in points allowed (25.8 per game) in route to a 3-13 record. Bradley didn't elaborate on what his "tackling plan" will entail beyond being more aware of Newton.
“When you prepare for Carolina, you prepare for Cam Newton," Bradley said. “What’s unique than any other team, you have to have plans for his ability."